The Virus Diary: Responsibility


It's the first Friday of March 2021.  I've been doing a lot of reminiscing recently.  I think back to the first Friday of March 2020.  Then my son would have been performing in his first high school musical.  Friday would have been the 2nd performance of the show.  This mom was at all four performances, handling ticket sales at each one. There were lots of dollar bills being handled by my bare hands.  It was well attended.  No one wore masks.  Why would they?  I hugged people.  Why wouldn't I? My son was going out with fellow cast members/friends every night and there was a big cast party on Saturday night/closing.  I remember thinking back then that it was really too early for a "spring" musical, but then again the next (extended) weekend would be the music trip to Cleveland and since most of the cast was involved in that I could see why it had to be done so early.  I never thought that the trip would be cancelled.  It wasn't until the school was closed down the week after that I realized how lucky we were to get a show in at all.

It's a year later.  The spring "musical" is planned for May of this year.  It is an original production; a musical revue of sorts.  It will not be performed in the high school auditorium, but at a rented outdoor venue in the next town over.  A year into this pandemic and we have to make adjustments.  Things have changed and at least in my part of the world, it doesn't look like they are going back to what they once were any time soon.

My son goes to school every other day for 4  hours before coming home and having two classes remotely.  I need to fill out a form every day that he goes in saying that he is well.  His classes are small to maintain social distancing.  He and everyone in the building wears a mask.

Although there will soon be parts of the country where masks are not required (not a good idea in my opinion), in NJ masks are still part of the routine.  I put one on when I go out.  I want to keep myself safe and those around me safe as well.  It is the responsible thing to do.  It is the RIGHT thing to do.

So look at the photo that tops this post.  If you've read any of my previous posts about my grocery experiences you'll know what this is about.  (If you haven't:  and are quick reads).

Since January, every week this guy has been wearing his mask either with his nose hanging out or with it hanging under his chin.  

(I enlarged the photo so you can make it out...I know it's not a great photo, but...)

I have asked him to pull up his mask.  For the most part he complies, but if I go back later (and I have), it's down again.  So it's not a slip up.  (I know masks slip and happens to me too.  We see it happening all the time and people pull them up and adjust them.)  I've mentioned it to the manager of the store who said he would speak to him.  And I had no doubt he did.  (I can tell that he is a kind person, but takes his responsibilities seriously and is a stern task master.)  

It has gotten to the point where I don't even want to go down this aisle.  I was in another (smaller) grocery store in the middle of the week and I went down their frozen aisle (they only have one whereas "my" Shoprite has three).  There was no one there.  I immediately thought of how nice it was to not feel stressed when I went down the aisle.  Even though prices are slightly higher at this store, I am considering going there JUST to purchase frozen veggies 

I started down the aisle this morning and turned back.  I saw this and I didn't want to deal with it.  In frustration I took this photo.

As we were headed to the cashier, I saw the manager that I had spoken to before.  I went to speak with him again and showed him the photo.  He told me he had spoken to his person several times.  HR had spoken to this person.  He was obviously frustrated. He asked me to text him the photo, which I did.  He told me this person would be held accountable for his actions in the form of unpaid time off.

So this person is going to feel the financial consequences of his actions.  I feel badly about that. Perhaps I feel a little guilt?  Should I?  

But then I think, this was NOT a mistake.  He has made an intentional choice week after week. He is putting people at risk.  (Not to mention the fact that he is putting HIMSELF at risk)  He has purposely defied company policy/regulation:  

I take responsibility for my actions.  We all need to.  That includes the man who stocks the frozen fruits and vegetables.


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