Many people continue to be kind and sensitive and caring during this crisis.
A bunch of others have quickly returned to their usual human-nature-as-crap selves.
Then there are the ones who are exploiting the crisis conditions to be bigger A-holes than usual, creating an angry, volatile, reckless energy that we really don’t need right now.
The ones who used to pretend they didn’t see you before they cut you off in their car – now they seem to be purposefully making eye contact as they burn rubber in front of you, whether you are also in a car or just walking across the crosswalk.
The ones who stand in the cheese aisle, taking pics and consulting with their partners endlessly by phone about the right kind of hard cheese to buy while they obviously ignore you keeping your distance as you wait, a slight smirk on their face – never have snobs had so much power over the hoi-poloi, knowing you can’t politely but pointedly say “Excuse me” as you reach over them.
The ones who used to thoughtlessly leave their cart in the middle of the aisle while they browsed the coffee sales, now push past you, defiantly going against the arrows, daring you to say something and cause a scene.
The one with the backward cap who always stared at their phone like you didn’t exist when you rode the condo elevator together, now discovered to have spit on all the elevator buttons, either aware or not aware they were on camera.
The ones who used to rally and call for death to other races now rallying and calling for a return to business, even as their country death toll is wildly disproportionate to other national statistics – I will drink beer at the local bar even if it means my cousin ends up dying on a ventilator in the hospital.
It was already a scary world and time, and of course crisis would make it worse. Rudeness is hard to take at the best of times and now it feels worse, like somehow people being sick and dying leads us to expect others to be … nicer? Take a big breath and remember the friend who left a loaf of bread on your doorstep, the niece who gave you toilet paper, the millenial who walked on the boulevard to give you space on the sidewalk, the coworkers who put up with your ineptitude on Zoom, the client who offered to prepay for your services so you would have some income. Some people will always be about their own survival. What makes us human is the desire for everyone to survive, and our willingness to help that happen.