Now that I have all this time on my hands, you would think I would be a prolific writer. Every day would be full of pithy insights, fantastic social commentary and definitely some hilarious observations. Nope, not at all. Somehow my brain has shut down with this forced time of reflection. Ugh, reflection. Who wants to do that? Instead what is left is frustration. Frustration for the people around me who are oblivious to what is going on in the world. Yes, it is a beautiful day out. Yes, you should go for a walk and escape your house (and the people who live in it) for a bit. Yes, you need a change of scenery. Yes, fresh air is good for the soul and all that… No, you don’t get to walk on the footpath as if you are the only people on the planet, especially if you are in a group. No you don’t get to stop in the middle of the sidewalk and just stand there like there is no virus that we need to be aware of. No, you don’t get to ignore that you should be 6ft away (apparently 17 ft if someone sneezes) from the person heading toward you.
Just a quick interjection here, how do you get 11 ft farther away from someone in the space of time it takes to sneeze? Should we really be 17 ft away all the time? Allergy season is approaching so that makes it even more of a worry. How do you know if it is an allergic reaction sneeze vs a Covid-19 sneeze? Do they sound different? Can we make them sound different?
But back to the assholes who are probably unaware of personal space even when we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic. These people are showing me flashes of my future self and it isn’t pretty. The judgmental curmudgeon is growing within me like a… using the virus analogy would be too easy, wouldn’t it? Growing inside me like a bowl of oatmeal that you leave in the microwave for too long. Eventually it is going to overflow and cause a huge sticky mess. Yuck. I definitely don’t want to clean that up. Hopefully when I am a full-blown curmudgeon I will have a minder who will look at the people I berate and just shrug their shoulders like everyone has their own cross to bear. They are doing their good deed by dealing with me. I will definitely have to pay someone. My family won’t do that for free.
To save me from myself and protect other people, I call my mother on these walks and I complain about everything I see – people on bicycles who use the sidewalk instead of the empty street (shelter at home = hardly any cars), the groups of men hanging out in the parking lot by the lake (they must have it in for their elderly mothers-in-law), the runners whose breath I can practically feel on my neck as they approach (and don’t get me started on the ones who spit). You get the idea. To be fair though, I also tell her about the bizarre and nice things like a random pair of strappy silver high heels in a tree, the adorable puppies that are everywhere and the enormous flocks of water fowl that are having parties because we can’t.
My poor mother. I can’t stop talking when I leave the house. If I have to go to a store to pick something up, I talk more than I have ever talked before. To be clear, I am not hanging out and spreading my germs everywhere. I go as a last resort because something I ordered hasn’t arrived. Cat food is important. I don’t want to wake up to the cats eating my face because I didn’t feed them. It used to be that I was in and out with no commentary at all. Not anymore. I have thoughts and opinions and questions. Lots of them. Well, to me it feels like lots. It is still probably less than an outgoing person. Am I turning into an extrovert? Is this what it feels like? And it doesn’t matter whom it is. Actually, yes it does. I don’t want to talk to the people on my walks. I just want to yell at them to “STAY AT LEAST 6 FEET AWAY FROM ME!” Instead I passive aggressively say it very loudly to my mother on the phone to make sure they can hear. Or I gesture wildly to indicate my displeasure. However if they do keep their distance, I smile and say thank you and it turns me back into a decent human for a minute. Only a minute though because guaranteed there will be another oblivious person heading directly for me as soon as I get around the next bend and I won’t want to talk to them either.