- On May 18, 2020
I armored up in mask and topped off my hand sanitizer for my every 2-week run to the grocery for fresh food.
On the other side of the produce section, there is a guy standing at the bin where all the apples are piled up. No mask. Picking up the apples, one at a time, examining. Evidently searching for the “best” ones to put in his bag.
My mouth dropped open in shock–although no one can see it because I’m covered from chin to eyelashes with a sage green cotton mask (the color really makes my eyes pop!)
Three months ago, I might have been that picky shopper. Ah… the pre-Covid days when I could wander around, squeeze the produce. Read the label all over. Decide I didn’t want it and put it back, without guilt. I preferred to buy loose produce over ones packed in cellophane bags that contribute to our plastic pollution.
Now, give me pre-packaged, please! I get in fast. Keep my distance. No dilly or dally. Like the sign in a crystal shop says, “Look with your eyes, not your hands.”
Food shopping used to feel like a creative release for me as I browsed, putting menus together in my head, and ended up always buying more than was on my list. Now it feels like a gut-wrenching ordeal.
My reaction to the discerning apple picker boiled down to the lack of RESPECT it showed towards other shoppers and the grocery staff.
Safety–physical and psychological–is one of the three pre-eminent needs we have as humans: the other two being connection/relationships and dignity/respect.
Covid—and the ubiquitous mask–have pretty much squelched all three. No handshakes. No hugs. A viral unseen threat. And, really, does anyone look dignified in a mask…besides our dedicated health care workers? Our safety, the ease of personal connection, and even our dignity, have been ravaged.
I get that wearing a mask does not equate to 100% protection. Some say it makes people lazy because they have a false sense of security. I say it is a sign of self-awareness and respect. We are all unwilling participants in this game, and Covid doesn’t care. To me, wearing a mask shows you are doing what you can to keep us all safe.
The tenuous trust that supports the safety, connection, and dignity of our humanity has been diminished. When I walk around the grocery store, or a park, or bunch up at the intersection waiting for the crosswalk light to go on, I trust that the people around me will do no harm. That we are subconsciously—and sometimes purposefully—looking out for each other. I know that is not always how it works out, yet we must presume some level of trust if we are going to get anything done.
What bothered me so much about the unmasked apple picker is a sense of betrayal of this trust. #weareallinthistogether, or are we?
What are you noticing as you adjust to life in Covid times?