Creeped Out Yet?
On Friday, at work, I saw people coughing. It is neither cold nor flu season. One person was a co-worker at lunch, not wearing a mask. It is tough to wear a mask while eating. And I think I heard two customers coughing and I’m pretty sure at least one of them was not wearing a mask.
The store manager seems agitated that sales are uncertain, even though we made sales in June–despite doing things by appointment only at first and having occupancy restrictions.
There is one customer in particular that I haven’t seen since we reopened. He is a very nice guy, elderly, widowed, Greek Orthodox. I’ve Googled him and not found an obit for him, so I think he’s alive.
It’s the people I’m not seeing that make me feel creeped out. The sound of crickets where there should be conversations. The people dying, not directly due to the virus but because they cannot access normal health care because of an overwhelmed health care system. No drama. Just silence.
The coughing worries me because nobody was coughing when we reopened. Nobody. The coworker I referred to has another job as well at a fast food place. She needs every minute of work she can get. She could probably be half-dead and might lie just to earn a paycheck. Does she have the virus? How would anyone know? Widespread testing is still not available. Goodwill does temperature checks when we arrive to work. Here’s the problem: my temperature runs low (97 degrees) and if my temp ever gets up to 98.6, that will mean I have some sort of infection and I will still be allowed to work. People have to work. Even if that means infecting everyone else.
Sometimes it’s not the bad, scandalous, or traumatic things that create the problems. It’s all the good, right, non-negotiable, essential things that do not occur that create the problems. The empty spaces that should be filled with people. The silence where a conversation should be. My normal tendency is to avoid drama, but I am starting to see drama as a sign of life, like a pulse. It feels like the calm before round two of the storm.