Unmasked: A Guy Walks in to a Grocery Store…

He had to walk by a sign that said that those entering must cover their nose and mouth. You couldn’t miss it: it was right in front of the doors.

Illinois is back under a mask mandate because hospitalizations are rising and the Governor, prudently, is concerned about running out of ICU beds and beds for other sick and injured people, including children.

I put my mask on in the car, walked into the store, grabbed what I needed, found a checkout lane, and started unloading. As I waved my phone over the payment device to pay, the next guy gets in line.

He’s not wearing a mask.

“I have an extra mask if you need one,” I say, fishing one out of my purse.

He raises his eyebrows, and then smiles and says, with intentionally fake sincerity, “I have one in my pocket, thank you. God Bless You.”

And that’s when I didn’t say all the things I should have said.

So, Maskhole, I’ll get those things said now, even though I wish I had said them to your unmasked face. If I was more social media savvy, I would have made a video of an exchange that would have gone something like this:

“Why is the mask in your pocket and not on your face? Do you breathe through your hip? Really? You must be an alien! Cool. But seriously dude, you wouldn’t want to take this virus back to your home planet. I strongly recommend you put your mask on, over whatever orifices you breathe through.

Oh, you’re not an alien? So help me understand: why don’t the rules don’t apply to you? Do you have some kind of exemption? No? You just don’t care that you could infect a child under 12, who can’t get vaccinated yet, when you breathe all over said child with your smug, arrogant, unmasked face?

And when said child becomes gravely ill, maybe even dies?

May God have mercy on your soul.”

It feels good to get that off my chest, but it doesn’t actually do any good. The mask wars are now being played out in schools in states with Republican governors, including Arizona, Texas, and Florida, where politicians would rather let their citizens die than impose mask mandates.

In Arizona, Texas and Florida, governors have actually prohibited local school districts from requiring masks, and have threatened to or actually withheld funds from schools that require them. A Florida court struck down an order prohibiting masks, but in Hillsborough County, Florida, where parents were allowed to opt-out of a mask mandate, thousands of kids have been exposed and are quarantined, leaving school again just when they got back.

The worst part of it? Craven, self-serving politicians are using COVID as a political tool.

“Rather than work with him to vaccinate the country, Biden’s Republican opposition has, with only a few exceptions, done everything in its power to politicize vaccination and make refusal to cooperate a test of partisan loyalty. The party is, for all practical purposes, pro-Covid. If it’s sincere, it is monstrous. And if it’s not, it is an unbelievably cynical and nihilistic strategy. Unfortunately for both Biden and the country, it appears to be working.”

Jamelle Bouie, New York Times Opinion, 8/31/21

At what point will rational people, who are willing to take simple measures like mask wearing to protect their fellow citizens from a deadly virus, rise up en masse and say we’ve had enough of this deadly, science-denying bullshit and require both masks and vaccinations? (follow that vaccination link for a wonderfully obscene rant against the unvaccinated).

Oh, that’s right – in states with Republican legislative majorities that represent a minority of their state got in power due to gerrymandering that reduced the voting power of people of color and pretty much anyone who doesn’t vote their way, legislatures have pushed through restrictive voting laws, also intended to suppress majorities that would vote those bastards out of office in a New York minute if their districts were fairly drawn, their votes counted, and their voices heard.

Those voter suppression laws include features designed to empower Republicans to overrule a legal, fair election: so these “lawmakers” are admitting that they will not accept the result of any election they lose.

I said I’d avoid politics in this blog – but this is less politics than survival: both for fellow citizens, regardless of politics, and for our democracy. I can’t face, or let Angelic Daughter be subjected to, a future where the whole country looks like Texas.

May God have mercy on us all.

Grateful that I live where I do, and hopeful my country can stave off a death spiral into authoritarianism, I remain,

Your anxious, bereaved, befuddled, and mask-wearing,


Globe mask image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “Unmasked: A Guy Walks in to a Grocery Store…

  1. Living in Ohio as I do, I am with you regarding the painful twists of reality occurring in our world…

    Unbiased Utility Poles

    Your house on the corner
    perfectly displays
    your signs encased in plastic
    stapled to each sturdy pole

    I see this and feel your fear
    holding on, not about to let go
    defending your home, your body
    against me
    I feel sad and tired
    that you are so afraid of me
    even though we are neighbors
    and we both
    just want to safely live our lives

    I don’t suppose
    the innocent wires
    that the poles obligingly carry
    could be used
    to have a civil conversation
    but I like to imagine
    that they could


  2. I laughed when I read the remark that you didn’t say. But in all seriousness, I have a daughter who teaches in the public school system, a son-in-law who is a doctor, a daughter who works in a grocery and one who works in a child care facility and all of them have been vaccinated. I also have a son who is employed by a medical nonprofit that is involved in gathering data ( infections and deaths) on the virus, who of course is vaccinated. But I also have other close relatives who have chosen not to be vaccinated, and there are college graduates among them and no amount of reasoning has been able to change their mines. What a world! These are caring people but somehow the ‘the common good’ has escaped them. Makes me so sad. I hope you and your daughter remain safe!


    1. Thanks! I hope your unvaccinated family members come to their senses soon, and that they at least mask up. If not, I’d tell them you love them but that you won’t see them or slow them in your home until they’re fully vaxxed.

      Or you could say everything the author of the piece linked under the word “vaccinations” said!🤣


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