Ask Aunty Pam
Dear Aunty Pam,
I live in a rural area in NC and sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in my area that wears a mask. I take this virus very seriously because I’m in my early 50s and am the sole caretaker for my parents, who are both in their 80s. I want them to be around as long as possible, so I take every precaution to keep myself protected from infection.
The main problem is when I go to our local grocery store. Nobody, and I mean, nobody wears a mask in there. That’s their choice, and I don’t go near them, but when I’m in the checkout line and they don’t keep 6’ away from me, I’m forced to say something. When I ask them if they’d please back up (and am very polite about it) they either roll their eyes and back up like I’m a major PITA, or they tell me they’re fine or this is all some kind of hoax.
I’ve had it. Do you have any ideas about what I can say to people who won’t respect the government’s own guidelines for keeping us safe? Maybe they don’t care about my parents, but I do! Plus, I don’t want to catch anything, either!
Thank you, Aunty Pam!
Signed, Had it
Dear Had it,
Oh, yes, Aunty Pam has the sure fire, guaranteed smoke bomb for this very situation, although it will never work again for me now that I’ve blabbed about it in this column. It’s brilliant, if I do say so myself, and will require a small amount of amateur theatrical dramatics.
First, before you go out, dab your fingertip in a bit of blue eyeshadow and blend that below your bottom eyelid so that you look distinctly unwell. Next, cover up by putting on sunglasses. Then head out to your Piggly Wiggly. As soon as someone butts up next to you, make a rather slurpy, snotty sound with your nose, pull down your sunglasses and look at them, saying pointedly, “I wouldn’t get too close if I were you. I just had this virus thing and they finally took out the tube and let me go home yesterday. I don’t think I’m still contagious, but I’m not sure.”
Child, I promise that anyone near you will burn rubber with their shopping cart to get the hell away.
The Covid-19 virus isn’t like other run-of-the-mill viruses such as Chicken Pox or Measles that display their symptoms relatively quickly. It’s stealthier, like Syphilis (which always sounds like the name of a blue-blooded Charlestonian matron to me), which one can carry and spread undetected. Aunty Pam believes this is why many folks are cavalier about their risk of infection. But when they actually see what might befall them, it suddenly becomes very real.
And yes, it’s a white lie you’re telling. Actually, it’s a big, fat, honking hairy lie. But the end result is that you might actually be protecting that person, and that person’s family, who may very well decide to distance themselves in the future after such a fright. So, I am hoping God will forgive me. Or at least grade on a curve…