Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
HOMEFRONT: What's wrong with people? Don't they care?
topical alert

HOMEFRONT: What's wrong with people? Don't they care?

{{featured_button_text}}
Alma Gaul

Alma Gaul

I can no longer go to the grocery store.

I can no longer encounter people not wearing masks without a visceral anger boiling up inside and spilling out of my mouth.

I realized this last Sunday when the first person I encountered in the entryway getting getting carts was not wearing a mask.

"You should be wearing a mask," I said.

He didn't reply, so I continued, a little louder. "Don't you know people are getting sick?"

He disappeared through the automatic doors into the store with a, "Have a nice day, ma'am," although I realize his response could have been much less polite.

But then I just couldn't stop. I was ticked.

To the next fellow, I said, "You know they have masks up front."

Altogether, I believe I engaged with five different shoppers. I missed a couple because I lost my nerve. Most just looked at me with a blank expression.

The last woman, though, snapped back. When I told her she should be wearing a mask, she told me I should not be telling her what to do.

Ah.

But I was so mad! How can people knowingly put other people's health — possibly life — at risk? Don't they read the papers? Don't they watch the  news? It seems every night there's an interview with a sobbing family member who has lost a wife, husband, mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandmother, son or daughter to this virus.

And nearly every one says at some point, "Wear a mask. This is real." Or words to that effect.

I received an email last week from a reader living at Davenport's Ridgecrest, asking if the Times could publish a list of businesses that require their customers, as well as their staff, to wear masks.

"Many of us will not — cannot — shop at those stores that don’t," she wrote.

"We actually found a local dollar-type store that proudly boasted that no masks were required, so we spent our money elsewhere.

"I would think a roster of 'good guys' might be good advertising. I know it would help those of us who are trying to stay alive. Such a roll of honor might encourage more companies to do the right thing, since government is doing so little.

"We who live here would know where it’s safe to go buy a birthday card!"

Yes, safe to buy a birthday card.

I got home from the store and spilled out my story to my husband. He  wasn't entirely supportive of my verbal righteousness, given what he's seen on TV about how this kind of confrontation has ended in other places. Fist fights or worse.

"You better watch it," he said. "Somebody might spit on you."

Spit on me. That thought took some of the heat out of my anger.

Later, in a more reflective state, I considered my options. What can I say that will sound less confrontational? 

Maybe I would be better received if I said, "Why aren't you wearing a mask?"

That way I put the burden on them to explain. I am not telling them what to do, I am asking a question. I am making them think. And it doesn't sound so bossy.

My husband isn't sold on that alternative either.

I guess the thing to do is to begin shopping online and driving up for contact-less pickup.

But I like grocery shopping. Or used to. What a year!

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Parishioners of St. Andrews Catholic Church in Fort Worth, Texas, know that the Rev. Jim Gigliotti does not water down Catholic teaching for the sake of his flock's comfort. He doesn't mince words when explaining it, either.

This long weekend after Thanksgiving began with Black Friday, well-established as the busiest shopping day of the year. In these Covid times, we expected the traffic and sales volume to be somewhat less robust, but it soldiers on, with some merchants having started Black Friday promotions days earlier.

In January of this year the National Science Board, which is part of the National Science Foundation, published its biennial report on Science and Engineering Indicators. It captures how the United States compares to other countries from the perspective of degree production, investments in research and development, and scientific articles and patents (as a proxy for technical prowess). Basically, we're falling behind on every major measure, which means we may not have enough trained people and core competencies to combat climate change, defeat contagious viruses or compete in the growing market for advanced energy systems.

Despite widespread distrust in American institutions, trust in nurses remains high — and could serve as a powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19, which poses the greatest health threat in a century.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News