Now Is the Time to be Rude

A friend of mine from a writer’s group had to go to the post office. Here in Nashville, it often falls on customers to enforce social distancing guidelines for their own health. My friend got into the line, and a woman came up behind her, unmasked, practically breathing down her neck. My friend asked her to back up, and the woman did so, but not without an argument that sprayed her breath all over my friend who couldn’t get away fast enough without losing her place in line.

My friend is gutsy, so she asked the woman her name. The woman declined to give it to her, so my friend made a note of the car the woman had gotten out of, and the woman asked why. My friend said that she wanted to have a complete list to give doctors for when she catches Corona and the doctors ask her to do contact tracing to see who she caught it from or may have given it to. The woman seethed from a distance until they got to the counter.

I’m incredibly proud of my friend. Keeping yourself safe from Covid-19 and preventing the spread depends on people rigorously enforcing social distancing and keeping track of everyone from whom they were unable to distance. Doing so means that they will have to break social norms and stop being the people who make others “feel” good. They’re going to have to be rude.

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