Stock photo

Stock photo

Naked and nervous in the grocery store

Masks remain a choice for everyone

Several nights ago I dreamed about walking into Save-On stark naked.

Trust that’s not too revealing.

In the wonderful ways that dreams operate this did not precipitate the consternation (to say nothing of outright panic) that would have ensued had it occurred in the conscious realm.

Several people looked at me. I felt nervous but also free. And it was chilly.

You don’t need a psychology degree to analyze this late night feature. Welcome to the end of mask mandates in B.C.

For now, anyways.

My first real life trip to the grocery store, following the lifting of the mask mandate Friday March 11, mirrored very much that dreamy experience.

It seemed odd, after two years of not having to consider the need for lip gloss when simply in pursuit of salad ingredients.

No question it’s more comfortable to inhale and exhale without wearing a mask. That’s especially true if one also wears off the rack reading glasses just so she can decipher the best-before date on a pack of chicken thighs.

But it was hardly a life changing relief.

Beyond the science-based fact that masks stop the spread of sickness, and that benefits our community, I’d come to appreciate my grocery store masks.

One great thing I learned is how to smile better with my eyes, so that people would know I was saying hello and sending out positive vibes.

That’s something we could all work on.

Also, and as previously inferred, masks are warming. When it was -30 Celsius I wore a mask in my truck when I was alone. I wore a mask at my kitchen table, when there was no one else around.

Finally, masking up was a novel way of assuring at least some level of anonymity.

Everyone has stories about passing a friend or colleague in the produce aisle and simply not recognizing that person, because of the mask.

In Princeton, there is only one place to shop for food. Regardless of what groups you belong to, who you hang out with or where you work, we all eventually come together at the grocery store.

As the publisher of a small newspaper in a small town it’s also the place where I’m often asked: “Hey, are you that Newspaper Lady?” (Used the capital letters there, so it’s kind of like a title.)

Previous to COVID-19 my standard response was: “Maybe.” That’s common sense when you don’t know what’s forthcoming.

Parenthetically that’s the same way I used to answer the question: “Hey, are you so-and-so’s Mom?”

It was kind of relaxing to just smile with my eyes, shake my head, and scuttle off to the seafood freezer.

No joke folks. There are still people who need or want to wear masks in public, for a variety of reasons. They may have compromised immune systems. They could live with a vulnerable person who can’t risk exposure to any illness. Perhaps they just like to be warm, or anonymous, or they ran out of lip gloss.

Be kind and accepting, and remember it’s a personal choice that needs respecting.

Otherwise, as long as everyone keeps their pants on, we should be just fine.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?

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