Last night, for the first time in fifteen months, I stepped into my local grocery store without a mask, Modern Philosophers!
It’s amazing how wildly the pendulum can swing. Grocery shopping went from being an annoying weekly chore to a scary “will I catch a deadly plague?” adventure without any warning.
Back when this all started, I wrote a post about my first trip to the grocery store during the pandemic (https://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/my-daredevil-supermarket-adventure/). I tried to make a joke out of the ridiculousness of it all, but I was honestly scared to death to go to the store.
Things got so bad, that I thought about burning the clothes I wore on that first supermarket adventure. I didn’t go that far, but everything I wore that day was quarantined in the basement, and washed in a load separate from the rest of my laundry.
I bought so much during that trip that I didn’t have to worry about groceries for another three weeks. Of course, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t constantly obsessing over all the food in the house, and calculating how long it would last.
It was crazy.
It wasn’t normal.
It stressed me out so much that I lost sleep.
I received my second shot of the vaccine in February, but I’ve still had to wear a mask every time I went to the store. Or anywhere in public for that matter.
Since I was inoculated, however, I didn’t fear my grocery trips as much. The three week gap between visits became two weeks, and then I was back to my usual weekly visits.
But on Thursdays because the store was much less crowded than it was on Fridays.
I was vaccinated, but that didn’t make me immune from being an introvert. I’d still much rather shop when there are less people around to be annoying.
The mask mandate in Maine was lifted two weeks ago, but stores still had the right to require masks. When I went grocery shopping last week, the mask requirement sign was gone, but I observed that most people inside wore masks, so I wore mine, too.
This week, though, I was ready to take the leap.
I don’t know why I’m still overly cautious. I mean, I don’t wear a mask anymore when I run, and I pass plenty of people out on the path.
Something about the grocery store tickled my anxiety, though.
And my anxiety is VERY ticklish.
But after a long day at work, where I’m still required to wear a mask, I was in no mood to cover my handsome face in the supermarket.
So I kept my mask around my neck, and entered cautiously.
When alarms didn’t sound, and no one stopped me and told me to put on a mask, my confidence increased.
Dare I even say there was a pep in my step?
As anxious as I’ve been about being around large groups of people during the pandemic, I roamed the aisles calmly as if I were back in the Pre-COVID Days.
I don’t get how my mind works.
But I made it out of the store without incident.
And with ice cream, a whoopie pie, and Snapple. The makings of a celebration.
The times, Modern Philosophers, they might be a changin’ back to normal…
Does it feel weird to be around large amounts of people without a mask?