Last weekend I went to Walmart. I didn’t want to, I’d only ventured there one other time during the whole pandemic, but it was my nephew’s birthday, and I wanted to get him a gift that wasn’t going to arrive in 5-7 days. I know, I know, better planning could have saved me the trip, but I messed that up and I didn’t think my nephew should pay the price.
After all, his whole life has been pandemic, having been born March of 2020. My sister worried that he was going to grow up feral, having no other socialization than his immediate family for the first months of his life. Interestingly, the now smiley boy was a really crabby baby.
The day the doctor gave my sister the thumbs up to let others hold her baby, with a mask of course, she called my other sister and handed him over.
He’s a pretty sweet baby, very friendly. I’ve not been able to kiss him yet. As a baby who only gets kissed by his parents and siblings, he has adapted. He bonks your forehead. He tips his head down and looks up at you and that’s your queue to touch your forehead to his. It’s the cutest thing.
Anyway back to Walmart. While I was there, I figured I’d pick up a few more things that I usually have shipped. I was in the birdseed aisle, trying to decide which birdseed to get for home and the lake when I noticed him. A man, standing at the end of the bird seed aisle, staring at me.
I was wearing two masks. He was wearing a flimsy piece of fabric over only his mouth.
In MN, we have a lot of rural areas. A lot of agriculture. A lot of hunting. Never did the divide between city and country look so large as during the 2020 election.
I live outside the twin cities metro area, on the fringe, in the country. Yesterday my husband saw someone packing heat at Subway. Driving from my house north, if you’re trying to flick off all the Trump signs your middle finger will get tired. Don’t ask me how I know.
Anyway, I assumed this guy, looking like a capital insurrectionist except with a partial mask, had something to say about my extra mask.
I ignored him. He stayed there staring.
My brain kept saying DO NOT ENGAGE DO NOT ENGAGE DO NOT ENGAGE. He could have a gun, you just don’t know.
Someone else ventured down the birdseed aisle, breaking his trance, I guess, because he walked away after that.
I got the rest of my stuff and got the hell out of there.
I dropped the baby gifts off, masked and sanitized. I got two head bonks.
On Wednesday I started feeling run down. On Thursday I could hardly hold my head up. Today, my necks hurts so badly that I can hardly turn my head. I made an appointment for a COVID test.
I’m never going to Walmart again.