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Staying Calm, Carrying On

I dropped the Princess off at work this morning (of course, since she works for a large service corporation, sick leave isn’t an option, GO ‘MURICA) and decided to do the usual weekly grocery shopping. It wasn’t until I actually got to the store that I realized…

…well, I’m beginning to think we’re doomed. At least, a certain slice of America is.

I did my best to stay six feet away from everyone else. The store was doing its best by allowing people through the door in five-person groups. Unfortunately the herd was fear-crazed and rampaging. Elderly white people were doing their level best to run me over and breathe in my face. The younger people I saw were all attempting, like me, to allow everyone space and wait turns.

Every single person who cut in line, attempted to breathe on me, hip-checked and barged past me, or who was being nasty to a grocery worker was white and over 60. I am absolutely not joking. It was horrifying to see, and I hope I never witness anything like it ever again.

Unfortunately, I suspect that hope is vain indeed. It was like those videos of young people determined to Spring Break on Florida beaches yesterday, a display of selfishness almost unequalled in my experience.

Almost.

I did my best to slow everything around me down, and moved at a snail’s pace. And of course the writer in me was taking notes; all things serve the work. I’m shaking now that I’m safely home, but I wonder how many of the people absolutely determined to be assholes this morning were already carrying COVID-19 and spreading it with abandon in order to get their aloe vera juice and complain at top, spittle-laced volume about the store being out of flour.

Normally we’re pretty well stocked here at the Chez, so I might have skipped the regular weekly trip to the grocers if I’d known it was going to be like this. But once I was there, I figured going through was better than leaving, and since my online groups and IRL neighbors have all been so amazing I trusted naively that everyone involved would be a reasonable adult.

I’ve been wrong before in my life, though seldom to this degree. May the gods have mercy upon us, because white Americans (of any age) seemingly won’t.

Now I’ve got to take the dogs for a walk and do my best to avoid other people during that, too. I knocked off 200 pages’ worth of revisions yesterday; there’s another 280 left in this epic fantasy. Either I’m going down, or this book is.

At least I can work at home. Silver linings, and all that.

Please be kind to each other out there, folks. I’m sorry this is happening; hopefully we can all work together to at least not make it worse.

2 thoughts on “Staying Calm, Carrying On”

  1. To balance your story: yesterday at a store a store employee told us a TP shipment just came in then told us to wait and went back and wheeled a couple of big cases out as about 6 of us did a giggly dance and then applauded as he opened the case and then everyone closest made a point of handing them out before taking one and only one for themselves. All while keeping a respectful and cheerful distance. It was lovely. All strangers and all trying so hard to be kind. I cherish the success.

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