Now Everyone Has Masks

I have to go to Costco. Well, I don’t have to go, but I’m trying to do the shopping for my mom so she doesn’t have to go to the store and she needs some things that we typically get from there – butter, eggs, half and half. And there are some things I could use as well – also half and half, shredded cheese, more vodka.

Before I leave my house I spray a nasal saline solution into my nose. It’s supposed to help things I breathe in not stick to my nasal passage. Or so I’m told. I take Airborne to give my immune system an extra boost even though I already take Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Zinc to boost my immune system daily. I also rinse my mouth with Listerine since it’s supposed to kill germs. Maybe it will kill the germs that enter my mouth at Costco. (At the very least I won’t offend myself with the breath that I am breathing into my mask.) Because, yes. For the first time I leave my house with a mask.

It’s weird on your psyche seeing everyone wearing masks. And everyone in line at Costco is wearing some sort of mask. It makes me feel sad. In the line to get into the store I give a “can you believe this shit?” smile to the lady taking her place in line behind me, but she can’t see it. Hopefully she recognized the crinkle in my eyes. I see you. I’m smiling at you. We are in this together. And also, seriously. Can you believe this shit?

My mask is ill-fitting. The elastic isn’t quite tight enough. Not loose, but also, not quite right. But maybe I’m just not used to wearing a mask. I never want to have to be used to wearing a mask. But like the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want.”

I stand in line a full five minutes before the line moves. I don’t even know if they have what I want. There is a sign at the front of the line posting what they have. What they don’t have. But I’m at the end of the line, so I can’t see it yet.

I see someone leave with toilet paper. That’s a good sign. I don’t need any yet, but know that I’ll probably buy it anyway. Not to hoard, but to have later for down the line. (Which I guess is the  definition of hoarding.) Or maybe my mother or my brother or a neighbor will need it. I’d be happy to share.

Once the line does move, it moves fast. They let about 25 people in at a time. The line is wrapped around the building, but I don’t think I wait more than 10 minutes.

I walk past the clothing section and notice that it is completely empty. Not of clothes, but of people. The clothes are perfectly folded with not one person milling up and down the aisles. Impulse shopping for Jessica Simpson skinny jeans is not what anyone is here for. Spending more time than necessary inside, touching things you don’t need to touch, breathing things you don’t need to breath is a luxury nobody can afford. 

I head straight to the back of the store for the toilet paper. It’s so stupid. Why are people hoarding it? Am I part of the problem? I actually calculated how long it takes us to go through a package of toilet paper and we have enough for about 10 weeks. And in 10 weeks, I’m hopeful that we will be able to leave our homes more freely. But maybe not. Maybe it will be worse. I’m splitting the package with my mother anyway.

They have everything my mom needs. I’m happy that they also have shredded cheese. Last time they were out. I stock up on alcohol – wine, beer vodka, tequila. Virtual happy hour supplies. 

I split things up in the parking lot. Her half and half, my half and half, her butter, all my booze. I took some plastic bags at the rotisserie chicken station and split up the fruit – strawberries and cuties and limes.

When I get to her house she opens her garage door and I go through to her laundry room and drop off her groceries. I don’t walk past into her house to grab some mixed nuts from the bar or chocolate from the pantry. I stand in the garage and she stands back, but hands me a bag with some masks she made for me to mail to Chandler. I tell her the mask she made for me is a little loose. She goes to get another – an improved design. I try it on and it is better. We stand and talk for a few minutes in her garage, six feet plus apart. Both of us in masks. I think to myself, Can you believe this shit? But this time I don’t smile.

9 thoughts on “Now Everyone Has Masks

    • Except for the mask part, it’s actually not bad, Laurel. Very organized. Not too many people. They have almost everything (except for cleaning products). And yes, the weirdest time for sure.

  1. You are such a talented writer and captured this “everyday, normal” activity which isn’t so normal now…perfectly! Stay safe beautiful!

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