Social Distance


“Miss, you forgot this.”

Noticing that the woman in front of me in the checkout had left a can in her basket, I picked it up and handed it to her. The woman, obstructing her mouth with a winter scarf, pinched the opposite end of the can with her index finger and thumb, deliberately minimizing contact. As soon as she took possession, she handed the can to the cashier, saying she didn’t want it anymore.

Oh. I see how it is.

During these tense times, I don’t blame anyone for taking precautions with their health. Furthermore, we were at the grocery store. With the way things are going, it’s become an incredibly stressful environment. Supplies are scarce, lines are long, and we’re all increasing our risk of catching it by congregating in this way.

But that one interaction also served as a reminder that in our attempts to protect ourselves, it sucks to see our behaviour change in light of the circumstances. In that moment, I was more concerned with helping someone else. But maybe she had the right idea with regards to minimizing contact with others in public venues.

It wasn’t the only extraordinary thing we saw during this recent trip. Every shopping cart and basket was taken. Certain sections were completely empty, such as the toilet paper and paper towels. One woman in the aisle was particularly miffed by the shortage, as she scolded hoarders for needlessly stocking up on toilet paper.

We haven’t reached a point here just yet where people will buy anything. For instance, orange juice with pulp was readily available. Hoping that we don’t get to a point where everything is gone (and not just because I’m avoiding orange juice with pulp).

Though I didn’t see it myself, Steff said she even saw a shopper wearing a full-on gas mask and protective suit. Maybe a bit much, but if he isn’t taxing the health care system, you do you.

Steff and I managed to get what we needed for the next little while. Hoping everyone else got what they needed without incident. I know times are tough, but I hope we don’t lose sight of our civility and humanity along the way.

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