On Thursday, I went to the grocery store I have been going to for my entire life.
The cashiers and I are on first name basis. They watched me grow up, and are now watching my kids grow up. Pretty soon, we’ll be moving away from this town, and I’m actually a little sad about switching grocery stores.
It felt like home…
… until yesterday.
I haven’t said much about the current world situation, because there are so many unknowns. I am not a medical expert, nor do I claim to be one.
It’s a new virus that doesn’t respect political views, geography, wealth, or religion, so I believe there is merit to putting safe, temporary restrictions in place.
We’ve been obeying stay-at-home orders as best as we can.
We aren’t going to church.
We aren’t gathering with more than 5 people.
We aren’t utilizing trails or parks that have been closed.
I take off my shoes before entering the house.
We move onto the grass, or to another sidewalk to give people their space when we go for a stroll.
We aren’t grocery shopping “just for fun.” For the past two months, I’ve been trying to order groceries for our household of eight, ten days out, online. Much of my order is usually missing, but we make do.
Yesterday, I really did need to enter the grocery store though, and pick up a few things that had been unavailable for several weeks.
I left the kids at home with Brad, so I could be in and out as quick as possible, and allow other shoppers to enter (a limited number of people are allowed in the store at a time). I selected a sanitized cart, sanitized my hands, and kept my distance from others.
As I approached the checkout lanes, I noticed that, except for the people who were being served, there was nobody in line. Naturally, I scanned the lanes to see who was almost done, and stood at least 10 feet back until it was my turn to move ahead.
Then I noticed a woman I had never seen before approaching me. I’m not sure if she was a new employee, or a government appointed social distance enforcer, but she told me curtly that I could not stand there.
She told me to back up to the freezer section, at least 25 feet from the checkout lanes, where there was nobody in line. I did so, and within 30 seconds, she told me I was allowed to proceed to the same place I had been standing originally.
Unbeknownst to me, my infractions continued.
One of my feet was not directly on the dot (the other one was).
“Please, stand ON the dot, Ma’am,” she continued.
I looked down, and sure enough, one foot was outside the 12″ radius.
I suppose the fact that I was not wearing a mask had already made her suspicious of my recklessness, and my misplaced foot must have confirmed it.
I kept my mouth shut, and moved my foot back on the circle like a good plebeian, but what happened next is what prompted me to share this story.
The same woman sidled up to a co-worker who was having difficulty figuring something out on his phone. She stood shoulder to shoulder with him, not six feet apart. Then, with her glove-less hand, she began tapping his phone, trying to resolve whatever issue he was having.
She was touching a surface he would touch, breathing in his bubble, yet she spoke to me like I was two years old, making sure I stood on the dot with both feet, all in the name of safety.
When rules apply to everyone but you, you are a dictator.
Absolutely, I believe the virus is real, dangerous, and deadly for many; I also believe that opportunity for misuse of power abounds, and that also concerns me.
“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.”
If you see no problem with shaming or humiliating another human being into submission of an arbitrary rule, then I wonder how much you really value freedom, or life at all.
This is not an encouragement to willfully defy rules that are not in opposition to Scripture. I believe we are called to humbly submit ourselves to governing authorities, as directed in Romans 13: 1-7.
This is simply a plea to recognize what cattle carts look like, and to understand that being herded onto them “for your own safety” may be far more detrimental than it seems.
Please read this, if you’re not familiar with the reference.