Pomp-less Circumstance and Grocery Shopping

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I am finding myself becoming short tempered the longer this quarantine lasts. It’s not that I want to go anywhere – I am perfectly fine staying home. I think I miss all the fussing and griping on social media. The negative posts where someone didn’t get enough French fries on their plate. The posts condemning the school about not letting out over the threat of a sprinkle. There is only so much religious and political debates I can stand to read. I’ve about had my limit with those, and it is obviously taking a toll on my sociability.

I do think we are only about a week or so away from some parent of a senior going off on facebook about a rule concerning graduation. Tupelo’s graduation has always been some source of controversy concerning how they conduct the Pomp and Circumstance – or “pomp-less” circumstances. I remember when they started prohibiting anyone from clapping during the part where the student’s names were being called. It seems like I heard about that for a while. IF they even decide to have a graduation ceremony can you imagine the rules surrounding it? I would imagine we will need to produce a complete CBC, temperature check, and prove we have taken a round of antibiotics in order to reserve a seat.

Luckily for me, my senior doesn’t go to Tupelo. However, I still imagine that his school will figure out a way to remove the pomp as well as the circumstance. Now, don’t forget how this podcast started – I am in a weird mood lately and most of what you are about to hear, while it may be funny, it may take on a dark funny. I was smiling when I said that, by the way. I feel that while there doesn’t seem to be so much negative posts on Facebook lately – I would help out the situation and belly ache for a few minutes for your listening entertainment. However, before we cut from the intro to the next part – I want to use some reverse psychology on you. Now, I don’t want you sharing this podcast with any of your friends. I don’t want you sending me messages. I feel like if tell you not to do those things you will break your thumb hitting the share button and typing me a message. I don’t want to be responsible for that.

Part 1 

cap and gown photo

I feel like any day now I am going to get a message that reads: The commencement ceremony for graduation is as follows:

1. You are not allowed to invite anyone except your immediate family. All of you who have stepparents will need to explain to them that only those involved in your birth are allowed in the building. 

2. Your parents will be sequestered to an isolation booth where they will undergo disinfecting prior to you being called to receive your diploma. Please wear clothes that don’t easily stain because we can’t be responsible for any damages. 

3. If you do not have a mask and gloves you will need to report to the school nurse for proper cross-contamination training and receive your PPE.  

4. We will need for you to sign a waiver allowing us to broadcast your image via social media live feed and realize that due to the extreme pull on bandwidth we may need for you to walk slowly and hold your pose with the principal until we are certain your image isn’t distorted or pixelated.

5. Do not be alarmed by the HazMat team on site in case someone sneezes .

6. We will provide everyone with the ZOOM notification to watch the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and Historian give their commencement speeches. 

7. We will  have social distancing monitors throughout the facility making sure that no one makes pictures without using landscape mode on their phones (that’s sideways – not up and down). Also, absolutely no cheek to cheek pictures with duck lips. We have instructed the Sheriff’s office to taze you and take you to jail if this is attempted. (Honestly, this would be great law to implement whether or not there is a pandemic.) 

8. Do not, under any circumstances, congregate together and throw your hats into the air.

9. Any parent caught crying will be treated as a biological threat. Make sure you get it together now. Refer to number 5 above if you have any questions about the outcome of this. 

10. There will be no clapping – we felt this was necessary to have some sort of normalcy to our new rules. 

The one and only time I ventured away from home without my wife I was asked to go to the store for a few items. I did not enjoy having to do this. I felt like the kid in the winter that has so many coats on he can’t bend at the waist. I was told to wear my mask. I was told to wear my gloves. I was told to make sure I stayed at least 6 feet away from someone. Again, I didn’t want to do this. It’s not that I am afraid of catching anything. That is the least of my worries – I have gotten used to being at home and don’t want to go anywhere. I have absolutely enjoyed the shelter in place. However, the honey-do wasn’t going to do itself.

I arrived at the store. First, I couldn’t figure out the mask. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to tie the top strings over my ears or crisscross them in back. I just know that when I did tie them, they came loose. My left thumb when right through the glove as I was putting it on. I didn’t want to call my wife and tell her how silly I felt – because the only way I could get that silly mask to stay up was to twist it around the arms of my glasses then tie it in knot. I had to only use one hand because, like I said, my other glove was destroyed before I ever got out of the truck. There I am pushing the buggy with one hand – mostly trying to keep from going into circles. I figured it would be easier to pull the blasted thing since one of the wheels kept locking to the side. I was in the cooler section where the milk and eggs are and I was looking for a particular brand of milk that always get. There was a lady approaching my space and that made me nervous. I could barely understand her because her mask was too tight and she had one of those plastic shields attached to it. It almost looked like one that surgeons use. She was having a tough time because instead of surgical gloves it looked like she was wearing dishwashing gloves with a pair of those food service gloves over them. It looked as if it was extremely difficult hold anything.

I could hear her mumbling and I said, excuse me? She was complaining about having to wear all the garb (as she called it) and she had picked up some air freshener for her home and couldn’t open it and smell it. I mentioned that the names on the boxes were pretty close to accurate, but she was certain that without smelling it before she bought it wasn’t going to end well at home. Apparently, her husband has sensitive sinuses and if she changed scents it could cause him to have headaches. I about to tell her that I completely agree that it could because I have the same issues. Before I could say anything, she said it’s all in his head and she’d never heard of anything like that. She said he just doesn’t know what good smell is because he’s a man. So I said, well I can relate to being a man. She was manhandling one of those air fresheners trying to at least get to where she could try to smell it. She was putting the bottle down into the top of her mask and manipulating the part covering her nose to try and get sniffle. I had my milk so I was walking away and told her good luck.

mask photo

About the time I turn to walk away I hear her sneeze. Like a scream and a sneeze and then another scream of OH MY GOD! I turned around and the inside of her mask was completely covered in spit and mucus. She was instantly blinded by her own snot. I assume by the upward direction of the spray that she managed to get her mask below her nose. One of the store employees heard the scream and had made his way over to where the commotion was. He had brought a mop and bucket and I’m still not sure why. He apparently had been in this situation before and knew how to cut corners. This poor lady is walking in circles begging for help and nobody was willing to get close enough to her. I thought about taking out my phone and recording it but I didn’t want to be that guy. She was screaming, “what am I gonna do? How am I gonna get home?” I was thinking that maybe when she got to the car she would think to pull off the mask. Well, she managed to pull off her mask and one of the employees had brought her a new one.

They treated the area like a chemical spill and I was impressed by that – and then someone said, “I saw on the news that the spray from a sneeze like that can travel 15 feet! That’s when folks started adjusting their masks and walking slowly away from her. The employee asked her if the items in her buggy was all she was getting and would help get them bagged so she could leave. I was standing far enough away but close enough they could hear me. I said, “ma’am if I were your I wouldn’t buy whatever fragrance that was that caused the explosion. I mean, it’s none of my business, but if it made you sneeze can you imagine what it’s going to do to your husband.”

That settles it – I’m never going back to the store – or anywhere else. I am going to remain home for the rest of year. I’ll see ya’ll in 2021. 

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