I’m out at the grocery store yesterday, strolling down an aisle, when a guy who is not wearing a mask zips past. As he’s next to me he leans in and says a breathy “Hi.” Then he’s gone.
Given that my personal form of idiocy is a bit of oblivion to what’s happening as it happens and that I often only get full context later, it’s only as I’m driving home that I wonder if he did that on purpose. Until then I admit I only really focused on the idea that he was an asshole.
This is one of the spots in Arizona that has a mandatory mask policy, after all. It is actual law to wear masks. So he really shouldn’t have been there at all, better yet breathing a heavy “Hi” my way. At this point, it almost goes without saying that he was fairly young—maybe 30—and clearly white. I say that last because for the past couple months I’ve been doing the grocery shopping for both my family and my parents. Being into social dynamics, I’ve been paying considerable attention to the demographics of people who do not wear masks. It’s not 100% of non-wearers that are white and male and “young,” but it’s very clearly the leading demographic. Let’s say 80-90%.
So, did he do this on purpose?
In the end result it doesn’t matter. He did it, and if he was carrying Covid-19, then his actions could get me—or more likely my immune-compromised family members into some pretty ugly stuff, especially since our Governor and our President have basically conspired to ensure our Arizona health care capacity is now done for.
But yes, for obvious reasons it does matter if this person did it on purpose. And if he did it on purpose, it matters in ways that become intimately personal.
If my wife or my father becomes ill and have to go to the hospital, it matters. If caring for them means that the system can’t care for others, it matters. If they suffer for two weeks and I can’t be there with them, it matters. If, Powers-That-Be forbid, they need to be put on ventilators … and all that entails … well, yes, it fucking well matters.
Thinking about this as I write today gives me a pit at the bottom of my stomach.
This grocery store is literally the only place I go these days, so this is the only place I would have come into contact with the virus. It’s unlikely that anything will happen, but anyone who has played D&D knows you can roll a 1 on the old d100 a lot of times. If the unlikely does occur, then I will live with the knowledge that I almost certainly brought the virus into my house.
Don’t be an ass.
Help a brother out and wear a mask.