I went to the grocery store. This in itself is a mistake, but this particular trip brought to mind the movie The Stepford Wives. The clip that stands out is the grocery scene. The ladies make their way through the aisles with heels, hair, and attire in perfection. Their faces forward never glancing at a list or squinting at a product name or sugar count. Just going up and down the aisles in search of something not found in the store…freedom. This same feeling has been mine during all of my adventures to the various stores I have visited during shelter on place aka lockdown.
Of course my recent trip was without the fancy hair, makeup, and as always sporting my lovely readers over the mask. This look causes random blind moments, and possible run-ins with the other customer carts or customers, thus breaking all sorts of rules. Trust me. Since oxygen and reading are necessary. I now found myself wanting to rebel. When no one was near I quickly whipped off the mask to catch a breath and grab the correct item or any item as I feared being seen breaking an invisible code. Quickly, I re-masked and staggered to the next item on the list.
The art of feeling free, at least to me, has been lost. That day we as the masked zombies of Stepford strolled we all seemed to be looking for the lost greetings, smiles, and random conversations to pass the time while hunting for the best priced cake mix, or is that just me? Perhaps. Happiness has been replaced by fear and control, needed or not, it is control.
The quest for food, especially the desire to buy three of anything has been my only outing for two months. Like a caged animal, I have braved only the grocery stores along with the possible germs to feed my crew. I have been found dancing and crying in front of paper goods and the meat aisle while others pass and give me a nod noting that they understand. Buying three Quest bars gave me the same satisfaction as childbirth.
Groceries, I thought, would give me back the feeling of being free. The choice to pick my own produce, instead of employees who usually get it wrong with each and every purchase. Now, please know I hate grocery shopping and cooking…but when the homelife demands were issued, it has been part of my unsinkable daily life. I created a predictable day and if out of sync I started feeling like Chicken Little.
Of course none of this is normal, and we all have our feelings and stories that got us through to our phase one and the opening up of our worlds, cautiously and of course by choice but I still do not feel free. No, I feel watched, counted, and shamed for wearing the mask or the choice not to wear one. I have not made peace with any of this. If you have, let me know. I need your insight or your denial of the situation. My heavy thoughts have been rooted in our constitutional founders and what they must be thinking during these times. As tomorrow gives us a new sense of freedom in Arizona, I will celebrate with a hair appointment. That’s all. Perhaps out of fear, perhaps due to the control over our lives that has become second nature. I am not sure.