Yesterday was a sad day for me. What I thought could be an awakening for society has been nothing but a complete disappointment. I knew that COVID-19 would not bring about anything good. But I felt with people staying home spending time with their loved ones, reflecting on their lives, and connecting with nature might bring out their love for life which is buried deep within. That people will forget about living just to work and fulfill their greed for material things or be better than their neighbor, friend, family, etc. Unfortunately, it did not happen.
Amid this COVID-19 scenario, I followed the social distancing 80% of the time, leaving my home only to see my elderly mother and to work on Mondays where I’m alone in the office. Most of our shopping is online except for groceries. But this week, I ventured out twice. I visited the supermarket and a hobby store. For me, it was the saddest shopping experience I’ve ever had, and here’s why.
My first shopping experience was at the supermarket. It was not empty, but there were fewer people than usual. I noticed the social distancing right away, and that’s okay. I also noticed how social distancing had changed people’s behavior. I was at the deli counter, waiting on my order. The junior male employee was wearing a mask but no gloves. He was very polite. For me, the mask is uncomfortable, and I only wear it while out in public, so I can imagine how hard it must be for him to wear it anywhere from 6 to 8 hours a day. Anyhow, he finished my order and called for the next person, a middle-aged woman. While I arranged my deli items in the cart, the middle-aged woman began asking the employee why he was not wearing any gloves because it defeated the purpose of wearing a mask. The employee responded politely, but I could not hear what he was saying since I walked away.
Suddenly I heard the woman yell, “Do you understand what I mean by it defeating the purpose of wearing a mask if you’re not wearing gloves and touching things everyone else touches?”
I didn’t understand why she felt the need to berate the deli employee when she did not have on any gloves or mask. Why scold him when he’s out there working so we can all have the things we need? I would not let that affect me, so I continued to complete my grocery list. Among the COVID-19 social distancing changes is the one-way aisles. I don’t watch or read the news, so I wasn’t aware of the supermarkets implementing it. Since I don’t walk around looking at the floor, I didn’t notice. I saw the dirty looks at me from other shoppers. It wasn’t until I had crossed three aisles that I finally realized why the dirty looks when I glanced at the floor. Oops!
When I arrived home, I shared the experience with my husband. So he shared what happened at the supermarket when he went to pick up a few things a couple of days ago. He told me a woman was wearing a mask with a political message on it. Another woman who didn’t have a mask asked the mask wearer why was she wearing a mask if her political party does not agree with that. According to my husband, the masked woman lowered her mask and blurted out the words, “F… Y…” to the other woman. There was no need for either woman to ask or to respond in such form. People need to mind their own business. It was rude to respond such as the above, but what business does the other woman have to ask?
The other shop experience I came across was at a hobby store. There were barely any shoppers, maybe a dozen, when my mom and I arrived at the store. I knew what I wanted, so I intended to go straight to that section, grab it, pay, and get out. But here’s what I noticed. You’re walking up an aisle and meet another person. They will either run away from you as fast as possible or turn left or right, whichever is closest. If you don’t have a mask, prepare yourself to receive a dirty look. There’s no “hello,” or “that’s an excellent product,” or anything said. And, if you want to ask an employee for help, make sure you have a good pair of lungs so you can shout out your questions from at least 6 ft away!
Where am I going with this? There’s no love left, no warm smiles, or helping hands. Everyone seems on guard, rude, and don’t care for one another anymore. Things are getting worse every day and just because of a pandemic. I wonder how many people have noticed this. How many people have sat to think about what is happening and what it means? I believe we should protect ourselves, but what’s happening is ruining people’s spirits.
Are we really protecting ourselves? No, we’re not. Germs are rampant throughout the air when in enclosed premises. Just because we wear a mask does not mean we will not get sick, especially if it’s not the proper mask. When we go shopping, we first take a cart or basket others used. Not every store is cleaning their carts or baskets, and not everyone walks around with disinfectant wipes to do so. Then we pick up an item that who knows how many people have touched it with germy hands. They do not spray those items with decontaminants either. We proceed to pay using their keypad to key in our pin or swipe our credit card. Some stores place a plastic cover over the keypad. Okay, the keypad is safe, but the germs are now on the plastic cover. There goes the “germ-free” environment! We have passed them on to our vehicle, which we will sit in, drive, and carry those germs into our home. Think about it; it’s the same everyday situation without a pandemic. It’s no different. You can catch any disease this way, so it does not protect us from anything. We have complied to become inhuman, uncaring, and misunderstanding.
I understand we should take care of ourselves. But we should do it the same way we take care to avoid getting the flu or any other virus. Not by ignoring each other. That’s not socially distancing. That’s being rude. I, too, understand no one wants to die, even though that’s the one thing we will for sure have in life. But the fact is, when our time arrives, it doesn’t matter how but it will happen. I’m not insensitive, and I apologize if you think I am. I lost my oldest son 13 years ago, so I know the pain of losing a loved one. I know THE worst pain of losing a loved one and don’t want to experience it again. But it’s a reality that we will face.
I’m not saying to not protect yourself. I agree with protecting ourselves, but why do it in such a way? Why give a person the stink eye because they don’t have a mask? It’s not mandatory in Florida, so they are not breaking any laws. Why bother with comments to those that wear a mask or don’t wear gloves? What good does it do to criticize the store staff if they do or don’t wear protective gear? If it affects you that much, then don’t go out. A simple “Hello” or “Have a pleasant day,” won’t kill you. It can improve your day. You might not agree with me, but that’s how I feel. We are living in the saddest times of our lives with no proper reason. We just lost touch with humanity.