Last week out of pure frustration, I decided to go to the store myself instead of relying on delivery. Our deliveries had been dwindling each week, and I was worried that the local stores were actually running out. I arrived at the store and realized that no, the stores were not out of supplies, my Shipt shoppers were either in a hurry or just didn’t really care about my order and said they couldn’t find what I needed. I was in and out of the store in less than an hour. So, we decided that as long as Hubs can come home early on Monday’s, I would go to the store decked out in my bandana mask until my actual one arrives sometime next week.
Masks and I do NOT get along. I know I can breathe through the fabric. It’s how they’re designed after all, but between surviving pneumonia and several attempted strangulations having my airflow restricted in even the slightest way sends me into a panic spiral. It takes most of my mental capacity to keep myself calm and breathing with a regular rhythm. I do it anyway because it’s the socially responsible thing to do. I’m not worried about catching the virus myself, but I am concerned about being a carrier and unwittingly spreading it to someone else. I can deal with the minimum discomfort if I have to go out in public.
But then there are those people who choose to ignore the CDC recommendations and/or disregard any social distancing regulations altogether. Those people add another different kind of stress as they laugh, sneer, and ridicule those of us who are taking the CDC’s advice. Already being in a fragile state of mind trying to keep from having a full-fledged panic attack, those people piss me right the fuck off, and it takes infinite self-control not to tell them off.
Those are mostly people who have a legitimate reason to be at the store. THEN, recently, we have another level of ignorance that is dangerous and volatile. The people who believe that the entire virus is nothing more than a political ruse to take away their freedom. The people who carelessly open carry their firearms and drag their whole families into the store for nothing more than starting a fight with others who are doing our best to respect others and being generally defiant of the stay at home recommendations.
That’s a lot to unpack, so let me break it down: I am pro RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. What I’m seeing/referring to here is NOT that. I’m also not a massive fan of big government, so while I understand the general sentiment behind the Don’t Tread On Me, ignoring all scientific evidence just because the government decided it was better to close things down for a while is also irresponsible. There are times and places to challenge authority. Social Distancing is not the one son.
Randomly accosting people in the store wearing masks and attempting to maintain the social distancing orders with your unholstered gun just flopping around in the waistband of your jeans because FREEDOM is ridiculous. People like that are the people who give Americans a bad name. They were in a gaggle of about 12, the men all had their guns poorly stuffed into their pants, the wives were chatting it up like it was a social hour, and their kids were running around climbing all over these guys with poorly holstered weapons. They didn’t even buy anything. They just all had carts and wandered around the store for the hell of it being defiant and combative.
It made me sick. I finished my shopping, loaded my groceries, pulled my mask off and had a good long frustration cry in the safety of my Mom Van. Part of it was PTSD, part of it was unexpressed rage at the ignorance, and part of it was just grief. The cashier who checked me out today was one of my regular baristas at my favorite Starbucks. I haven’t seen her in almost two months and it was hard realizing that life will likely not return to “normal” for a very long time.
I wish the people who laugh and jeer at those of us behind masks knew how hard it is for some of us to deal with and the small sacrifices we make to keep their ignorant dumbasses safe. Yeah, I’ve already had the damn virus and I’m likely one of the “silent carriers” because the case I had was so mild. I’d love to go out in public without a mask, but I don’t want to be responsible for your untimely death. Laugh it up. You’re welcome.