Droplets seemed to dance in the air, misting my windshield as I crossed traffic and pulled into the parking lot. Immediately I spotted the woman standing in the drizzle, just outside my neighborhood grocery store.
Something had changed. I could tell right away.
Cautiously, I eased into the crowded lot, slowing to allow an elderly man to pass in front me. I watched him as he proceeded across my path, beneath the new blue tent now stationed outside the entrance, and into the store. Rolling down my window, I strained to eavesdrop on the conversation between the woman, clearly a would-be shopper, and an unfamiliar man wearing a brown jacket and holding a clipboard under the new tent. “But all I need is gelato,” I heard her say somewhat pleadingly.
The man in the brown jacket, clearly stationed as a sentry to provide information on revamped store hours and policies, pulled his clipboard close to his chest. He then politely explained that this time was for ‘seniors only.’ No one under the age of 60 would gain admission until 10 a.m. “But . . .can’t I just grab that one thing?” the woman insisted. Brown jacket man, steadfast in his courtesy, told her he was sorry, but they needed to keep the rules consistent- for everyone. Even her. I heard him say that this is how it had to be. The woman pivoted and left.
On this final day of the 2020 slice of life story challenge, I am left wondering if some people really get it? Do they understand the magnitude of what we are dealing with in this global pandemic? All you need is gelato? Really? Forgive me, but that sounds like a comment from our old lives. Our old “ 21st Century“ lives, in which we dreamed up artificial “needs” and were able to fulfill them instantaneously. Right now that world is gone. And until people face up to that, we will remain sheltered in place.
It is my great hope that next year’s Slice of Life Story Challenge will reflect only a distant memory of this crisis. People will have followed government issued precautions. Our curve will have flattened. And COVID-19 will be nothing but a memory. That is my great hope.
Thank you to all of you who have participated in this challenge. It has been an honor to write with you. Comment with you. And receive your gracious feedback. Everyone stay safe. Stay well.
We will get through this.