(Language, social innuendo)
Months ago, here in town we’d been off-and-on under directives to shelter-in-place, loaf-around-your-house, or whatever trendy folks call it. Grocery shopping was an allowable exception1. Suggested face masks, and of course the six-foot social distance required whenever wandering from the confines of your home. MSM talk often allowed six feet inadequate and thirteen feet was suggested. Thirteen feet won’t fly because cretins here can’t judge six feet properly and thirteen feet might as well be thirteen miles or thirteen inches. Folks here wouldn’t be able to observe a revised social distance correctly anyway, and most of them certainly would feel their civil rights were being violated. I know this for a fact; pay attention:
I was shopping MegaFoodMart produce, minding my social distance when a very ugly twenty-something lady (I’d like to use an expletive, but won’t, at least trying to be a gentleman) approached me. If not twenty something, this lady (I use the term loosely) was certainly a practiced ugly forty something woman. I make certain allowances for age, but this lady-person would get no unattractive-allowance adjustment allowing for years from me. It hurt to look at her and her purple bobbed hair. Following my wife’s instructions, I was picking out zucchini and spring onions, when this creature barged right into my social distance2, bumping shoulders with me, and were I a frailer creature, I’d have been forced to yield space in front of the spring onions.
I chastised her politely, “You’re having a bit of difficulty with ‘social distance,’ aren’t you?” Miffed that I’d not immediately ceded my territory to her, she rewarded me with a look that would scald the hair off a butchered hog. The “MegaFoodMart Associate” stocking shelves nearby saw this exchange and reinforced my upbraiding the woman with a wide “attaboy” grin, so wide it visibly moved his PPE, and confirmed by the twinkle in his eyes. The interloper was not happy, and stormed-off. I suspect she went to find a manager to complain or help her subdue me. I didn’t care, I had my social distance back and I could resume protecting my wife, not bringing home germs, viruses, and attitudes from some twit who can’t follow rules3.
Not much later, entertaining myself, I cruised the paper goods aisle, to gawk at the bare-naked toilet paper shelves – a reminder of what a Looney-Tunes country I live in – toilet paper shortage, indeed! Expletive-expletive! I spied a forty- or fifty-year-old lady (again, I use the term generically and very generously) loading her full-sized, otherwise empty grocery cart with package after package of table napkins. She had the shelves nearly emptied, her cart three-quarters full and was working furiously to finish emptying the shelves of table napkins. Politely, as I am known by friends and neighbors to do, I asked her, “Do you really need all that?”
She was shocked at my audacity. She stammered, “Well, we’re out of paper towels, and this is all they have.”
Patiently, I repeated myself, (perhaps my “PPE” facemask made my normally too-loud voice difficult to hear) “Do you really need all that?”
Startled at my insistence, she was speechless.
Ever helpful, I offered, “If you’d like, just back your car up to the front door, I’ll load all of what’s left into your trunk while you settle with the cashier.”
The woman surely considered me a lunatic or some strange pervert. She fled with her cart, three-quarters full of napkins only, leaving half a dozen packages on the shelf. I needed none, took none.
Stocking paper plates atop a modest ladder nearby, a clerk said to me, “Way to go, man!”
Picking his nose not far away, a manager was not similarly impressed. To be allowed to finish my shopping, which at this point was but to cruise to frozen vegetables to see the okra, peas, and spinach shelves holding nothing but frost and empty cardboard shells, I endeavored to keep my mouth shut. This was not easy, as I observed the ladies and gentleman of my own generation (seniors, and therefore, somehow I don’t quite understand, entitled) do not, any one of them, understand the concept of social distance any more than the purple-haired bitch.
Further, and I could not resist commenting, the brute of a bagger in my checkout lane had a face mask but deemed it not necessary it cover both his nose and his mouth. That it covered his mouth4 was good enough for him. And incidentally, good enough for the nose-picking manager who had drifted around behind me from the paper goods aisle as I finished shopping. The, um, polite discussion that followed was, um, animated. Personally, I’d like it to have escalated. Been wrong before but I felt abused just enough I’d love to have seen if it took the nosepicker and the brute-bagger to kick my ass. I am now persona non grata at that MegaFoodMart, for suggesting if you got rules, enforce the damned rules or shit-can them.
I am embarrassed for my generation. Not only are we incapable of dressing appropriately5 for public appearances, we, to a man (or woman), do not afford other people (including, sadly, and defying understanding, our own “senior” generation) common respect and consideration, having nothing at all to do with Covid-19. Shame on us! “Old,” by the way is not a handicap. There is, I suppose, a legitimate argument for “old, lazy, inconsiderate, and stupid” being a genuine handicap. I am over sixty-five and while it is not to my advantage, I grant credence to arguments that anyone over sixty-five be confined (forcibly, if necessary) to an old-folks facility. For our actions, my generation, the purple-haired bitch, and the napkin hoarding old biddy are, and deserve to be, persona non grata. For their ages, burly and the nosepicker should be institutionalized in a different facility.
1 Recently, somewhat eased, many businesses are open with PPE and distance restrictions, except restaurants, theatres, and such.
2 My social distance no more important than parking lot police to ensure bloated SUVs occupy only the same space allowed Mini Coopers or failing that, forced to park in the boondocks and trek into the grocery arena. It’s the principle here. Good for me, good for you. You don’t merit any cleaner air than I for your age, gender, or sartorial resplendence.
3 Rules are rules. When you can’t abide by the rules, you should surrender you citizen of society membership card, find a cave, carve a big stick from an oak stump, and hunt and club your own skinless, boneless chicken, organic tomatoes, native pomegranates, and curly endive. Give away your freedoms? Sacrifice your freedoms? Have your freedoms ripped from your hands? All BS we can argue-out when the dust and phlegm settles. You retain the freedom to shop establishments that don’t require masks, encourage swapping spit, and otherwise respect and protect your rights. This somewhat after the fact, but curiously I wonder why you are upset over mask and distance mandates but accept allegations of voting irregularity with nary an eyeblink, and do not insist on immediate and open investigations into influence peddling and other improprieties to include vote fraud. In parting, if there’s nothing to any of it, it should be simple to prove and be done with it once and for all, instead of suggesting there may be truth in it by refusing to join in demanding investigation, clouding truth. That includes PPE and so-on ad nauseum, but the exigencies of time…
4 The sign on the door clearly declared. “No mask, no admittance.” Okay, in truth, it did not demand a mask be worn correctly. The idea of donning a dirty pair of jeans, a wife-beater tank-top and returning to the store incognito amuses me. Perhaps I’ll purchase a trendy pair of jeans with scant denim covering my ass – with my mask strategically deployed over my nether parts. Seems right.
5 Appropriately. I’m pressed to understand why a woman who all her life had to have her nails redone and her lipstick fresh to walk to the mailbox suddenly will haunt a grocery store for two hours in dirty, baggy sweatpants. And the men. Oh, good gracious! Knobby knees sticking out from ugly billowing cargo pants, above calf-high black socks and sandals. Really. I mean it’s your right to look like a slob, but I am a member of the generation you give a bad name, and frankly I’m sick of it, swine!
© S P Wilcenski 2020
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