Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Angels of Death at the grocery store

This morning I went to get a few grocery items that hadn't made the last list. As a considerate person, I wore a mask. I kind of like it behind the fabric. Once my glasses quit fogging up, it's cozy in there.

Mask use was widespread. This was the first time I'd seen the majority of people covering up. But there were the inevitable few naked faces, mostly adorned with contemptuous smirks. They still kept their distances, so I was content to swing wide and keep shopping. But then I turned down the snack aisle and saw a man and a woman who looked to be in their late 30s or early 40s, fake coughing and sneezing on a masked woman trying to get past them. "If God wants you he's gonna get you," they yelled after her.

I lost it.

"You don't have to be an asshole about it," I said. It degenerated from there. The male charged at me. He was pretty scrawny, but the enemy is not misguided rednecks, it's microbes. He was spewing a bunch of mostly disorganized threatening words, and kept telling me who he was and where he lived, probably to demonstrate that he was not afraid of me.  But he did stop and back up when I thrust a hand out and said, "Back. The fuck. Up." He continued to rant from three or four feet away while I snagged a couple of chocolate bars and retreated out the aisle. We exchanged loud ill wishes as we parted.

A couple of minutes later I ran into a store employee and told him about the situation. I was able to point out the couple to him. Whatever action was taken, I don't know, but a couple of minutes after that the scrawny guy came up six feet away from me, still unmasked, and proceeded to tell me that he was ready any time to have me over to his house for...what, I don't know. I was seriously ignoring him as long as he stayed six feet away.

I'm going to start carrying a boar spear when I have to go out. The crossbar keeps the charging beast from sliding up the shaft and getting too close.

Really, what an unpleasant thought. I gave up bloodthirstiness not long after I got out of my 20s. You don't have to think about it for very long to realize that it's not such a great idea. But our history is built on a pile of not so great ideas, ennobled and mythologized for centuries. The better ideas usually involve not having deadly confrontations, but the people who like deadly confrontations go ahead and start them, and then have to be answered in kind because we do not yet have the ability simply to immobilize them and set them aside while they consider the error of their ways. And you know that the power to immobilize would be abused early and often.

Reminders of the ignorance and malice of people make me want to stay either in the house or deep in the woods where there is no trail. That's not a great option with the ticks coming out heavily. It preys on my mind when I set out on the bike to go to work. I've only done a little so far, due to various schedule conflicts, but I was planning to make it a more regular thing. There's more room and air circulation than on a trail, even if it's exposed to traffic and the vagaries of public opinion.

Tight passing clearances present a challenge to my preferred commuting options. The full route only uses some of the Cotton Valley Trail on the route out of Wolfeboro at the end of the day, but park and ride options use a lot more. There are road alternatives, but they involve left turns at awkward intersections onto high speed roads. The actual speed limit isn't too high, but the herd average certainly is. And commuting time is when impatient motorists are most numerous. Having the right to use the road does not mean that you can assert it without exposure to other people's bad judgment.

If the idiot in the grocery store really gave me the location of his house, all the properties along there are listed to owners with Massachusetts addresses. That would mean that he's not even from around here. And his assertion about a god means that he is inflicting his values on passersby with typical arrogance. The righteous can do no wrong, right? He had quite the potty mouth for a man of god, though. Onward foulmouthed Christian soldiers.

I make no pretense of godliness. My profanity is utterly sincere. I only know that I support my fellow humans in our attempt to prevent the coronavirus from rampaging unopposed. Even the quarantine protesters put on their full tactical costumes and pick up their shootin' irons before going out to make their statement. They dress for the threat they want to face. They lack the true faith and commitment that civil rights protesters had in the 1960s, who went unarmed even though they knew that they would be beaten and teargassed, and dragged across the pavement when arrested. I don't think I could do that. The first thing I felt when that scrawny asshole in the grocery store came at me was the desire to obliterate him physically. What replaced it was a cool calculation, not a godly surge of peaceful acceptance. I don't want to give an unworthy opponent even temporary satisfaction. But that's when I do have to rise to the level of acceptance, that the things I have wanted for the world are uncommon and unlikely, and now their perpetuation is the task of another completely different generation of people. They are free to decide that they don't want them. Ultimately, all I can hope is that things don't get too shitty before I'm tired enough of living to stop doing it, or am forcibly removed.


Rob in VA said...

This pandemic has served to accentuate the actions and values of those around us. Though the nobility of many is more evident than in 'normal' times, the minority of people who are unfit to coexist with others seem now to believe more than ever that their obscene behavior is somehow sanctioned. If justice prevailed, these imbeciles would succumb to the same pathogen that they assert (through their actions and/or words) to be no threat. As infuriating as the situation was, your restraint from physical violence gave you the upper hand. Allow Darwin's theory to work, though that will take time.

Why is it that after spontaneous confrontations like this, I wonder in retrospect why I didn't have the presence of mind to start the videorecorder on my phone?

cafiend said...

I thought for a split second about taking video, but decided I needed both hands free in case the idiot did attack. No point in getting my phone broken in a scuffle with a moron.

It's depressing how much harder our situation is made by the destructive idiots who want to sabotage our best efforts.

Dave Henri said...

Wow, after reading that I'm just shaking my head. Some people, it seems, are hostile by their own nature. I don't understand it and probably never will.

Morlamweb said...

Wow. I've had a couple of verbal confrontations - just a couple exchanges of impleasantries - but nothing ever came close to a physical attack, and I have called people assholes for it.