I used to not mind grocery shopping. But now every trip to the store involves a certain amount of resentment and homicidal rage. That’s one more effect of the pandemic: It makes me uncomfortable with my thoughts.
Here in Jacksonville, the Republican mayor has finally decided that maybe masks aren’t so bad after all, and recently announced a citywide requirement that masks must be worn in any enclosed public space. Well, he didn’t announce it, preferring to decamp while aides got the word out. I assume he wanted no video evidence of him saying such a thing. Trump worship is a cruel mistress.
Still, praise be. Tremendous breakthrough. If such a rule had been in place two months ago, maybe Florida wouldn’t have hit 10,000 cases a day last week. Maybe we’d be looking at the end of this, instead of the beginning. But better late than never, right?
The problem is, the extreme Trump wing of the Trump party remains determined that mask-wearing is an affront to God. The moderate wing of the extreme wing of the Trump party might be willing to don a mask to get into Costco, but only because they have figured out they can slyly pull it down under their chins about 20 paces past the door monitor. Nobody the wiser! Suck on it, Deep State!
This is where the resentment and rage come in. Today at Publix, there were signs on the door clearly referencing the mask mandate. Publix has also tried to encourage social distancing by marking one-way aisles throughout the store. Most of us were in compliance.
You know, in these troubled times, it’s the least you can do. Yeah, it’s a pain donning a mask in 95-degree heat, and then wearing it in the store for half an hour, but the science seems clear: This is the single most effective step individuals can take to slow the spread of the virus.
And so the first person I encounter is a middle-aged white woman, face unmasked, shoving her cart against the one-way traffic in the cereal aisle. If she’d been confused, I might have sympathized — who among us has not flouted some societal convention by mistake? But her expression was one of mulish obstinance: Nobody was going to tell THIS Trump voter to cover her bovine countenance.
She was right about that. When I go out in public, I try never to be the subject of a YouTube video trending on Twitter. It’s just how I roll. I shot her an annoyed look, of course, but since I was wearing a mask she probably didn’t get the full effect. Same with the half-dozen other unmasked people in the store who were wandering around chatting on their phones or scratching their asses or obstructing the aisle in front of every freaking item I had on my list. I could only seethe.
Two interpretations, equally annoying: those who eschew masks are either completely clueless, or they are embracing another easy and thoughtless way to support the president and express ownership of the Libs. Clueless is not out of the question. But if I had to choose, well … Trumpers gonna Trump.
Maddening. But what can be done? A mask ordinance can’t really be enforced. Nor would I really want it to be. The police have bigger fish to fry than supermarket crimes of solipsism and stupidity. Still, it pisses me off. Just knowing that as a unified country, we could easily beat this thing, But as this country, we won’t.