Fight, Flight or Hide: Danger, Covid-19, A Rant

North Carolina rates of infection are on the rise. We are in the Bruised Red, Uncontrolled Category. This is alarming. We may not be in the Top 5 outbreaks in the Southern States, but we are inching there. Wherever we are, whomever we are, we are at risk. And, in the face of what we perceive as danger, our normal response — according to the mental health experts — is to either run away or fight.

These days, many of us are also in hiding. I should be in hiding because I’m a fighter with a loud voice. No amount of precautions help me. No mask wearing. No frequent washing and using hand sanitizer. No six-feet of social distancing. Mostly because others don’t adhere to the guidelines.

NC Governor Roy Cooper extended Stay at Home Orders on July 16 to August 7, 2020. This includes:

WHEREAS, in Executive Order No. 141, issued on May 20, 2020, the undersigned urged that all people in North Carolina follow social distancing recommendations, including that everyone wear a cloth face covering, wait six (6) feet apart and avoid close contact, and wash hands often or use hand sanitizer; to reduce COVID-19 spread.

I made a mistake today. I went food shopping mid-Sunday morning to the Harris-Teeter supermarket in my Durham neighborhood. Why? I promised to help a friend.

Most were behaving pretty well. Everyone was masked. I stopped to allow people to pass me and made a wide swing around others when there was space. There were definitely more people in the store than at 8 a.m. on Mondays and Thursday, The Senior Hour.

In Produce, I hovered around the potatoes, onions and squash eyeing the best before touching. Okay. I’m not Speedy Gonzalez. A late 20’s-something (hard to tell with the mask on) swooped in three inches from me to pick an onion.

Excuse me, he said, as he reached in front of me, body leaning in my direction.

I said, incredulously, What are you doing? You are supposed to stay six feet away!

I said Excuse Me, he said, and turned his back on me, setting off.

Excuse me doesn’t cut it, I screamed through my mask. Do you think he heard me. I kept shouting, You are supposed to stay six feet away.

He went to another aisle, stone faced. I noticed he had a very short cropped haircut, shaved close to the neck. I wondered if that meant anything.

How dare you? I continued across the expanse of strawberries, peaches and blueberries, as if that would help lower my anxiety. Everyone else stayed far away.

I’m scary, right. I scream Stay Away.

Now, I’m smarter than this. I should know better than to go out food shopping on Sunday, when Duke students are starting to return, when the weekend habit of procuring vittles is ingrained in many.

There would have been any number of online choices: Instacart has been a delivery mainstay with choices such as Sprouts, Fresh Market and Durham Food Co-op. I have also shopped for pick-up at Harris-Teeter and at Whole Foods. I reconciled my decision based on some specialty needs for my friend.

Meanwhile, I must forgive myself, do better to calculate risk and remember to #stayinhiding and #staysafe and depend more on available services. I must stay conscious.

Life depends on it.

18 responses to “Fight, Flight or Hide: Danger, Covid-19, A Rant

  1. I understand how an angry feisty shouting response may seem like an empowering example to other seniors. If I could choose a response, I personally would choose calm and non-fear. Please don’t get angry at my reply… I am neither naive nor misguided… Nor am I a denier 🙂 What I am, is someone who is deeply saddened to see that one of the major side effects of the Covid threat is terror. My friends over 70 are in terror of living for fear of dying. Please, over 42% of covid deaths happened in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Seniors between 70 and 104 all over the US have gotten Covid and are okay… Please wear your masks, and wash your hands, and live life. Get your groceries, practice social distance, and dare to live without terror. Terror is bad for your mental health! It’s horrible for your immune system! Yelling at a poor soul who reaches over for 3 seconds… That’s terror. It breaks my heart to see such terror. We can all be smart, without being overtaken by such fear. Trust that your immune system can support you, load up on vitamin C, D, E… Wear your masks, and don’t worry to death when you are living. I really send this message from my heart, it’s a plea to all my senior friends and if I’m not mistaken, it’s the same advice the Dalai Lamas and Thich Nhat Hanhs of our world promote. Please don’t shoot the messenger with angry words, and consider the message 🙂

  2. Normie – If you are an Amazon Prime member, delivery for goods over $40 is free. Molly has been doing most of our shopping, but every once in a while I order from Whole Foods for things Kroger doesn’t carry. The delivery service has been absolutely wonderful. That being said, I spotted one delivery person gathering our groceries to bring to the porch – no mask. I yelled from my window, “Where is your mask?” He went back and got it. When I reviewed the service, there was a place to indicate that the driver was not wearing a mask. I suspect he’s heard about it! I can barely go to the CVS drive-through for prescriptions…when I see people without masks, it makes me furious. So I understand your anger. Just, please, please be careful. You are too precious to become ill. Besos!

    • Hi dear Sam. Yes, I have Amazon Prime and order for pick-up at local Whole Foods. They do a good job picking the fruit and veggies. It’s worth the extra bit to have a personal shopper! I did manage to get up and out and to our version of Kroger (Harris-Teeter, same company) at 8 am. Snagged last 2 Liquid Plummer ( they were out yesterday). Completely safe at that hour/day. I’m glad you are yelling, too. It seems to have made a difference for you. I do feel my blood pressure rise, which isn’t healthy, when I get angry. We are both precious. You be careful, too. Love you.

  3. Right now the mask design is what I’d like to look into – different than anything I’ve seen elsewhere…although that fabric is really lovely. Thank you, Norma. I had a funny image of grocers hiring Stay-Away squads of vigilant feisty people to patrol their stores…you know, instead of greeters 😉

  4. I’d appreciate knowing if the face mask pattern you’re wearing in this photo is available online. Thank you & take care.

  5. Keep at it Norma! I think it’s much better here in Philadelphia but when I see it I get enraged too. Other countries figured out how to do it but we have no leadership in a crisis.

  6. Norma, it is awful. Everywhere. Did you see this article about a fiesty woman clerk in Oriental, North Carolina? Her battles over masks are fascinating. It is in Washington Post today (Sunday)

  7. I lived and worked in Cozumel and am now back in USA. Following
    Covid19 in both my homes saddens me terribly ! On the rare
    occasions I venture out – seeing uncaring – inconsiderate people who
    are not wearing face coverings….Angers me ! Continue to SCREAM !

  8. I love your feisty shouting. When you do it it empowers others to do the same instead of muttering profanities behind their masks. Bravo! For your outstanding performance! You deserved some clapping, for sure. That would’ve really freaked that guy out!

  9. Oh, darling Norma, I’m so sorry to read this story. Keep yourself safe, and I know you try. It’s a little more sane up here , at least in Toronto. These young and selfish guys don’t get it, won’t even read about the terrible deaths of the worst affected. I think you’d be safer in Teotitlan countryside, but I realize you can’t go there just now. Love, Kate

    • Oh, Kate, thanks for your kind words of caring. Not sure how safe it is anywhere except inside our homes and out in the fresh air. I love walking the Teotitlan campo and I really miss it. There is illness and death there, too, just no testing to know. Big hugs. Lucky Canadian.

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