Last year was our first and only season of lock down. We have been lucky as far as Charlie and communicable illnesses are concerned. This year, Charlie’s pediatrician said that lock down was not necessary. Despite our freedom, I do not take any chances.
I am that mom that always has a bottle of hand sanitizer, disinfects every inch of a shopping cart with those wipes at the store entrance, rigidly follows the doctor’s vaccination recommendations, and dodges visibly sick people like it’s a sport. Charlie even knows how to rub her hands together after I spray sanitizer on them.
Our trip to the grocery store this afternoon was more of the usual precautions. After I finished our shopping, I had to wait at the customer service counter for a special order. Charlie had settled in the pristine shopping cart and contentedly watched the shoppers around her.
Suddenly, I spotted a scruffy man carrying a case of beer headed in our direction. I assumed he needed assistance at the customer service counter and moved the cart as I stepped aside. In the blink of an eye, he tossed the beer aside and rushed Charlie!
I was horrified as I smelled the heavy cigarette smell emanating off of him, heard his cough, and saw that his hands looked like they hadn’t been washed in a week. Charlie saw the strange man headed for her and started to whimper.
I scooped up Charlie and shielded her with my body from the man as I begged, “Please don’t touch her. She’s sick.” That is the nicest possible way I have conceived to tell strangers to back off. I tell them SHE’S sick. The “It’s not you, it’s her” line. The man retreated and snorted, “If she’s sick than you should haven’t taken her out! I’m sick too!”
He conducted his business at the counter and left. He mumbled some unpleasant words at me as he passed to leave. The lady at the counter was annoyed at him and apologized to me.
When did it become OK for strangers to touch other strangers? Why is it wrong to tell people that one would prefer not to be touched? This is something I have often wondered and today’s experience has resurfaced the question in my mind. Why are their feelings more important than Charlie’s health?
We are not on lock down but I’m not messing around.