Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

 

I knew it might be an odd experience since I haven’t been out much. But it felt even stranger and more disconcerting than I had expected. The pharmacy in our development is small. It’s usually not very busy there, so I figured I’d just ride over and pick up my prescription. Jerry was dying to get out of the house—it was almost like a road trip—and drove me over.

To avoid people’s bumping into each other to shop or pick up their prescriptions, the owners decided to allow one person at a time into the store. There were at least four signs in the little outside entry area that demanded we wait outside until it was our turn. (I say demanded because words on the signs were underlined, and one sign had a large arrow on each side of it so that inattentive customers would be sure to see it.)

As I approached the pharmacy entrance, I saw one person waiting outside—with her mask and a pair of spring blue rubber gloves. Walking up to the door just before me was a fellow who looked perfectly normal—except he had on a mask and a pair of yellow leather gloves. He looked slightly familiar, but I realized all of us do when half our faces are missing. I felt almost naked with just a mask on.

Normally people in our development are pretty friendly. Wherever a group of us is waiting, we smile, pass the time making small talk. But today, all of us were silent. No chit-chat. No smiles (except for the one my husband had crudely drawn on my paper mask). We all stood our six feet apart, quietly, waiting our turn.

Each time a person came out, another one of us went in. Every customer had on a mask and gloves. (Maybe as seniors, they all feel threatened. After all, I’m only 70.) Finally, the fellow who’d been in front of me came out, nodded, and I felt sure I could detect a smile under his mask. It comforts me to think so.

In spite of the sunny day, cloudless sky and gentle breeze, it felt dark and forbidding as I waited. It seemed like all of us waiting were stuck in a timeless movie, where our lives were forced to stand still. Even the birds, usually calling out to one another, seemed to be silenced with us. We were together but alone.

Fortunately, the pharmacy pretty much had its routine in order. So once I went in, I exited with my medication quickly.

But the oppressive feeling of disruption, sadness, and uncertainty followed me out the door.

I still haven’t shaken it.

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 58 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I heard Stephen King said sorry for everyone feeling like they’re in a Stephen King novel…

    • #1
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:09 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    I heard Stephen King said sorry for everyone feeling like they’re in a Steven King novel…

    For sure! It is eerie–I should have used that word. Thanks, Mama Toad.

    • #2
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Be the change you wish to see, Susan. Tell folks hello and good morning. You can even tell them you really are smiling behind your mask.

    This too will pass…

    • #3
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:10 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Be the change you wish to see, Susan. Tell folks hello and good morning. You can even tell them you really are smiling behind your mask.

    This too will pass…

    I did try to greet the fellow behind me. I guess I’ll have to enunciate better–he couldn’t understand what I said! But you are absolutely right. It was my first time being around someone in a while. I’m out of practice. I’ll do better.

    • #4
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:12 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    I heard Stephen King said sorry for everyone feeling like they’re in a Steven King novel…

    Here’s the interview: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/08/829298135/stephen-king-is-sorry-you-feel-like-youre-stuck-in-a-stephen-king-novel

    • #5
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:13 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Rodin Member

    Yes it is certainly strange and disconcerting. My wife’s mother has always felt antsy without a daily car ride before the lock down. Since the lockdown we don’t go out every day and I am the only one that goes into the drug store, grocery store, or restaurant for those places that don’t do curbside delivery. She likes to ride along on as many of these excursions as possible. Mrs. Rodin, on the other hand is quite comfortable staying home as our environment is comfortable. 

    Its sad to see the empty parking lots and retail stores and know how difficult life is for the formerly employed.

    • #6
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:17 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well, at least there were no guard towers and guns trained on you. So, there is that.

    Next week may be different.

    • #7
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:17 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  8. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Next week may be different.

    • #8
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:21 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. PHCheese Member

    How did you know the guy wasn’t smiling because he had robbed the place?

    • #9
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:22 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Lilly B Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Be the change you wish to see, Susan. Tell folks hello and good morning. You can even tell them you really are smiling behind your mask.

    This too will pass…

    I did try to greet the fellow behind me. I guess I’ll have to enunciate better–he couldn’t understand what I said! But you are absolutely right. It was my first time being around someone in a while. I’m out of practice. I’ll do better.

    When I went to the grocery store a couple days ago, I noticed that nearly everyone was wearing a mask. The week before, seeing a mask was rare. I quickly realized that the store clerk cleaning the carts couldn’t hear me because I tried to tell him that I was smiling under my mask. We can tolerate these small losses of human connection for a little while, but I don’t want this to become the new normal. 

    • #10
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:25 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Well, at least there were no guard towers and guns trained on you. So, there is that.

    Next week may be different.

    It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it @brianwatt? Hopefully I’ll be better prepared next time. Although that might not be such a good thing . . .

    • #11
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:30 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    How did you know the guy wasn’t smiling because he had robbed the place?

    Because the clerk would have tackled him before he ever reached the door!!!

    • #12
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Next week may be different.

    I am not wearing a mask on my morning walk at 6:00am! I dare ’em to come and get me.

    • #13
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:33 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    My wife’s mother has always felt antsy without a daily car ride before the lock down.

    Bless her heart. When those kinds of activities are central to our lives, we can have such a hard time adjusting. I’m glad she still makes the trips with you, @rodin.

    • #14
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:36 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. OldPhil Coolidge

    Jerry was dying to get out of the house—it was almost like a road trip!

    Yesterday we drove up to one of the wineries where we are members to pick up our quarterly 3 bottles. If we bought 3 more bottles, they included a free block of smoked Swiss cheese, so we did. Had a little chat with the owner when he brought everything out, then stopped at Lowe’s and a local garden center on the way home to see if they had some plants I want to put in, but they didn’t. A few people had masks, but not the majority. I’ll gladly wear one if Goobernor Blackface requires it to get things opened, but not until.

    • #15
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:49 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    I’ll gladly wear one if Goobernor Blackface requires it to get things opened, but not until.

    It probably won’t be long, @oldphil.

    • #16
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:51 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. OldPhil Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    I’ll gladly wear one if Goobernor Blackface requires it to get things opened, but not until.

    It probably won’t be long, @oldphil.

    He’ll probably require it, but make us bow down on the sidewalk before entering any store. 

    • #17
    • April 9, 2020, at 4:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    I heard Stephen King said sorry for everyone feeling like they’re in a Steven King novel…

    For sure! It is eerie–I should have used that word. Thanks, Mama Toad.

    Misery?

     

    • #18
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:03 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):
    Misery?

    I don’t know. I was afraid to watch that movie all the way through! Kathy Bates scared me to death!

    • #19
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:05 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I was afraid to watch that movie all the way through!

    I always find his books much much more creepy than movies made of them.

    Of course, I never watched It… 

    • #20
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:06 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I was afraid to watch that movie all the way through!

    I always find his books much much more creepy than movies made of them.

    Of course, I never watched It…

    Oh yes, the mind can be so much more graphic. I read Cujo and that was the end of Stephen King for me.

    • #21
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Next week may be different.

    Here’s what I said about Chief Constable Nick “we reserve the right to rifle through your supermarket trolleyto see if you’re disobeying the law” Adderly on another thread:

    Clearly, Chief Constable Nick Adderly of the Northamptonshire Police hasn’t read my memo: Police threaten to search shopping trolleys to check you’re only buying essentials.

    My heart hurts for my country when I read things like this:

    “Speaking at a press conference today, the chief constable said a ‘three-week grace period’ is over in the county and the force will now be issuing fines and arresting people breaking the rules. Strict measures to be implemented could include ‘marshalling’ supermarkets and checking the items in baskets and trolleys, he said.

    ‘If things don’t improve, and we don’t get the compliance we would expect, then the next stage will be road blocks and it will be stopping people to ask why they are going, where they’re going.

    ‘This is about reasonableness and if people are not reasonable in terms of the journeys and the trips they are taking, they are going to fall foul of the law.”

    I think I’m a reasonable person. And I’m prepared to do my bit. So why is it that the second thought I have when I read this is of how utterly, utterly wrong all this is?

    Oh. You want to know what my first thought is? My first thought when I read this (sarc on), is “why are the bloody stores selling non-essential items in this time of crisis anyway? And why haven’t the managing directors of Waitrose, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s already been frog-marched off, stage right?”

    Before they start on some poor girl buying a bottle of nail polish to make herself feel pretty, a housewife buying a new spatula or some popsicles for the kids, or an old man buying a pair of shoelaces? Good grief.

    People who are stuck at home doing their best ought to be able to buy whatever the hell they like at a store that’s open. How [expletive] ridiculous.

    • #22
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:22 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    She (View Comment):
    People who are stuck at home doing their best ought to be able to buy whatever the hell they like at a store that’s open. How [expletive] ridiculous.

    This will sound terrible, @she, but after suffering at the hands of the Nazis, you’d think they’d think this stuff over. Apparently not.

    • #23
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:24 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  24. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Next week may be different.

    I am not wearing a mask on my morning walk at 6:00am! I dare ’em to come and get me.

    I don’t wear a mask on my walks either! But I’ve been out twice with one, both times to the store. And I have to say that I didn’t notice much difference, other than that people were waving to each other more than smiling. The clerks were chatty, someone was disinfecting the carts at the door, and it was, actually, OK. I don’t know what the difference is, although my county hasn’t had many cases, relatively speaking, and folks here have a pretty independent streak about things in general, both historically and today. So perhaps that’s it. But so far, not too bad, although, of course I miss the freedom to go where I want and move around as I please.

    • #24
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    She (View Comment):
    So perhaps that’s it. But so far, not too bad, although, of course I miss the freedom to go where I want and move around as I please.

    Please package some of that attitude and send it my way. It still feels creepy to me. And I’m not sure I want to be out more often to “acclimate.” Sigh.

    • #25
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:32 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    People who are stuck at home doing their best ought to be able to buy whatever the hell they like at a store that’s open. How [expletive] ridiculous.

    This will sound terrible, @she, but after suffering at the hands of the Nazis, you’d think they’d think this stuff over. Apparently not.

    Yes, that did occur to me too. Taking every bit of choice and free will away from a population that’s already reeling ought not to be their aim, one would think. Years ago, and very sadly, I decided I could never live in the UK again. It was the result of a train journey I made from Worcester to Shrewsbury (not all that far). I was by myself, an in a carriage with 3-4 others, middle aged folks like me. I didn’t participate much in the conversation which consisted, almost exclusively, of whining and moaning about the “authorities,” and about how “nothing could be done,” and how awful their lives were, and how put upon they were by everyone in power telling them what to do, how terrible the NHS was, how nothing was any good, and how they all wished they were dead.

    To slightly misquote the former First Lady, “for the first time in my life I was ashamed of my country.” I can’t live there, I’d be in jail before very long, probably for bringing to fruition the heartfelt longing of people like my erstwhile traveling companions.

    I hoped that the Brexit vote, over three years ago, represented a new beginning. The years subsequent to that, though, dimmed that hope.

    Lord, please get Boris Johnson through this and out the other side in one piece. At this point, he’s the closest thing the Brits have to Obi-Wan-Kenobi, I think:

     

    • #26
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:39 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  27. JustmeinAZ Member

    She (View Comment):
    Chief Constable Nick “we reserve the right to rifle through your supermarket trolleyto see if you’re disobeying the law”

    Uh oh. Good thing he wasn’t at my local Walgreen’s this morning when I was in line with a bottle of nail polish and 6 Stouffers chocolate Easter Eggs. Well, I considered them essential. And I wasn’t wearing a mask or gloves.

    • #27
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:49 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  28. danok1 Member

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    I heard Stephen King said sorry for everyone feeling like they’re in a Steven King novel…

    For sure! It is eerie–I should have used that word. Thanks, Mama Toad.

    Misery?

     

    The Stand.

    • #28
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. JustmeinAZ Member

    I did go to Safeway this morning as well as Walgreens. Maybe 25%, including clerks, were wearing masks. Everyone was cheerful, even the lady I ran into as I was walking backwards down the aisle looking for something I missed. Of course we don’t have wannabe totalitarians checking that we buy only the “right” items.

    • #29
    • April 9, 2020, at 5:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    I did go to Safeway this morning as well as Walgreens. Maybe 25%, including clerks, were wearing masks. Everyone was cheerful, even the lady I ran into as I was walking backwards down the aisle looking for something I missed. Of course we don’t have wannabe totalitarians checking that we buy only the “right” items.

    It does make me think about 9/11, in that people seem to be wanting to smile at and greet people, just to cheer them up. As long as we hold the totalitarians at bay, we’ll be okay.

    • #30
    • April 9, 2020, at 6:21 PM PDT
    • 3 likes