Out of the corner of my eye I registered that, yes, my mask is in my bag, ready for the next time I venture out.
And I think, wow, this really is a weird world that many of us have so quickly adapted to.
Not so much the woman bouncing the entry to the greenhouse, who seemed uncomfortable with her role in traffic control, her nervous energy a little off-putting to the “essential-service” mother’s day outing my adult kid and I were making. Inside, at first it was pleasant, not busy, lots of room between the social distancing signs, but then these English-accent people came up behind us, impatient with our slow pace. Luckily for us, they chose to go the wrong way down the next aisle.
In the parking lot, I wondered about the dad who had brought his 7-ish-year-old child with him – it’s one thing for adults to choose the risk death, another to choose it for your child. They were empty-handed, which really made it seem like he just didn’t know how to entertain the kid. Then there was the well-heeled – Blundt, I mean – yellow-jacketed (it wasn’t raining) Gen X’er who whined loudly about how long we were taking at the seed display. Which, I’m a little embarrassed to say, just made me take longer despite how well turned out she had gotten herself for this shopping trip, my boomer way of saying I used to wear labels too.
There is a lot of talk now of how people are angry and will become angrier as they realize that their Starbucks retreat is now a scene from dystopian story, wide bands masking off the tables, separating them from other Starbuckians. What used to be a warm cacophony of too many customers now a strange half-empty barn echoing the fears of people trying to retrieve their normalcy.
People in Ontario were rightly angry that their premier – after weeks of ordering them to social distance – had his own mother’s day with more than 5 people – and posted pics of it! Other’s waited in long lines at Red Lobster for their traditional mother’s day meal, albeit take-out; their mothers have never told them that they don’t believe in boiling living creatures alive and would be happy if they could have an hour to call their own.
People in America – well, some people – were angry that their CEO and his next-in-line are not wearing masks, not setting an example, confirming for the deniers that “this” is all an exaggerated socialist reaction and that Darwinism will win out.
And in Canada – oh, dear – a national icon was shamed for posting what the media jumped to infer was a racist commentary but turned out to be a vegan tantrum, set to music. We wondered whether we would ever feel the same about the Summer of 69, until an apology was issued. Vegans – educate, don’t castigate!
We are all having the same experiences, though strangely from different sides. Deniers persist even while children die in New York and Russia. Germophobs are finally exonerated and can live publicly the life they have always wanted to. Masks offer some protection and tell people which side of the pandemic we are on, another division in our society as even those we love and are close to question whether “this” is all necessary.