I had a run-in with a fellow customer at Morrison’s this morning. My nerves, already frayed by the corrosive effects of depression, anxiety and lately insomnia, simply broke loose as a middle aged man stood about two feet away from me in one of the self-service aisles.
“Would you mind keeping your distance, please?” I asked, as politely as I could.
“I’m two metres away,” he replied.
“You’re not two fucking feet away. Can you please move back?
I did swear, I’m afraid, but I was angry., He didn’t move at all.
“Look,” I continued. “About 70,000 people have died from COVID-19. I don’t want to be added to the list. Would you mind keeping a distance from me?”
“More people have died from flu than the virus,” he retorted.
“Well, how do you know that?”
“I work at the hospital.”
At this point I lost it.
“I expect you’re some kind of Sun-reading halfwit, coming out with bollocks like that. Now stand back.”
“Don’t swear at me.”
And so it went on, until I paid for my goods and left the store, giving him my best evil stare as I walked away. The sheer stupidity of this man, I thought. I am guessing he is not a professor of anything, nor an epidemiologist, but I don’t think he is unique or alone in his stupidity.
Judging from my fellow shoppers, his refusal to adopt social distancing measures was the norm, not the exception. The media is fond of telling us that young people in general and students in particular are in truth little more than mass murderers, spreading the virus with gay (and straight) abandon, risking the lives of the heroic elders who fought in two world wars etc etc. But it just isn’t like that.
Most, though not all, customers were wearing masks but many of them did not seem to realise their noses were connected to their mouths. One senior person close to me received a mobile telephone call and lowered his mask in order to shout into it. Most of the others simply made no effort to create even one metre of social distancing. It was as if the virus had never existed.
This is not an unusual state of affairs. Visit any shop or public area and people just aren’t bothering to stay apart. As we head for a long winter of deaths and lockdowns, it’s almost as if we don’t care anymore, or, in the case of my hospital working ‘friend’, they don’t believe what’s true.
More and more, I just want to stay at home and if I wasn’t suffering so many anxiety dreams, stay in bed, possibly until after some vaccines have been rolled out.
The young are not angels when it comes to COVID-19 but many older folk appear to have learned nothing this year.
I’m not proud of my reaction but I thought it best to be honest with you, my dear loyal reader.