In search of story

June 9.20: Coping


Yesterday I had a moment in a paint store that sent me into laughter which almost suffocated me because I was wearing a mask. Afterward I thought about it.

A man was buffing the floor, likely enjoying the sauna behind his mask as much as I was enjoying mine while I maneuvered with my usual grace amid shelves and social distance markers. The COVID pas-de-deux.  As it happened, I ended up apparently in his path: my assertion that I was trying to not be in the way was met with his “Well, then, MOVE!” This hit my funny bone hard. Thus my suffocation.

We all have our gifts. Mine is to be in the way. My dad had variations on “you’re in the way,” the best of which was “go tell your mother she wants you.” The man with the machine yesterday would have fit into my family perfectly.

As I chuckled my way home, I reflected on the mask as a new wrinkle in such a moment (pun intended). He was wearing a baseball cap so all I could see was a bit of grey hair and his eyes. Maybe MOVE! was grumped at me. I don’t think it was, but how would I know? We did not see each other’s faces — this should be remarkable. It isn’t! What a weird world we have landed in.


5 thoughts on “June 9.20: Coping

  1. Best laugh I’ve had today. I wear the mask. I will continue to wear the mask. I can’t breathe correctly in the mask. 🙂 I was going into Lowes on Sunday morning, a 45-50 year-old man got out of a truck next to me. I’m putting my mask on, he’s putting his mask on. I say good morning, he replies. Then he says, these masks are going to kill us when it gets hot. I laugh and agree. He then says, at least the kids don’t have to worry about it because they don’t look up from their phones and do they even know the virus is here. Then I laughed myself silly. This is indeed a strange time. It’s like we’re dressed up for Halloween only the mask is on our mouth and not our eyes. 🙂

    • Let’s hear it for the voices of the elderly, muffled though they may be behind their masks! That man had it right: the young’uns might not look up often enough to know there’s a virus — and maybe they have the right idea. Yes, it is like some kind of strange Halloween — on so many levels!

  2. It’s funny (and perhaps fortunate) what makes us laugh. My mum had an unpleasant experience recently with an impatient man who thought she had been too slow. Luckily it did not faze her. I hope the man meets more kindness when he is older.

    • The world is full of boors. I’m sorry to hear that your mother encountered one of them. Yes, I hope he meets with more kindness than he has doled out, and I also hope his conscience is plaguing him. He deserves my father’s favorite malediction: “Thyself upon thyself!” Dad thought Shakespeare was a first-rate insulter.

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