Today, I want to share the story of Pat goes to the supermarket.
This is a precautionary tale that starts with me spending most of the week on the couch buried under three blankets and ends with some angry white guy doing his best to make my life miserable.
Last week was a perfect storm that started with an asthma attack and collided with a respiratory infection. In other words, one long, non-stop, gut-wrenching cough.
By the time Saturday rolled around, I was running out of supplies, but was feeling a lot better.
I had two negative COVID tests, no flu-like symptoms, and the coughing had dialed back enough I felt like I could make a quick trip to the supermarket to get a few things.
It was a short list, but my husband and I split it so we could get in and out before I started coughing again.
At some point in my trek around the store, I picked up a tail. A nasty little man who took offense at the idea I was wearing a mask.
He followed me from aisle to aisle all the way to the checkout, berating me for wearing a mask. It would have been annoying, but not too bad if he had made a passing comment and moved on, but he stuck with me as I made my way through my shopping list. He leaned in and got up in my face and demanded I take it off.
Over and over again.
Then he followed me to the checkout. By that point, my husband was with me and this idiot was still going at me.
Who does that?
What kind of lackluster life did this guy have that stalking a sick woman at the supermarket was his idea of a good time on a Saturday night?
This was the first time someone has accosted me about wearing a mask, but it was not the first time someone has followed, harassed, or bullied me.
I know how these things go. They poke and poke until you respond, then it escalates.
I would have decked him if he actually laid hands on me.
If I had been alone, I would have sought the police detail that covers the store on Saturdays. In hindsight, I probably should have done it, anyway.
I don’t know what the message is in all this, but I'm sure there is one.
In this week before Christmas, I’d say they all apply.
As Thomas Paine once wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
There are a lot of sad, angry people out there who feel ignored and powerless.
You may not be able to do much for them, but you can hug your family, be vigilant when you’re out, and check in on your friends and neighbors. Whatever else you do, please be safe.
Co-founder, The Business Guild