I wonder if Fitbit or Apple Watch could add a count for the additional steps incurred after getting all the way to the front door of store before realizing that you forgot your mask. I can attest from experience that the step count most definitely adds up when you are running errands and multiply the forgotten mask mis-steps at numerous stores.
I also bet that one could also count the expletives that some of us use when we realize that we must return for our mask. Every trip is on a loop like Groundhog Day – park, walk to store/bank/school/work, realize you forgot your mask, curse loudly, shake head and mutter, return to car, retrieve mask, put it on, walk back into store/bank/school/work. Perhaps a swear jar is in order? Might be a good way to save for that Caribbean vacation planned for 2022.
If you have a gaggle of children with you, there is the fielding of questions like, “Why are we going back to the car?” or “Mommy/Daddy! You said a bad word!”
The duplication of steps does not end there. The steps continue to creep up while you try to figure out which aisles are Enter Only or Exit Only. Have you ever walked backwards out of a grocery aisle after realizing you messed up and it was an exit only? Just me? Okey dokey.
Things are different now. The same grocery cart handle that you allowed little Susie to chew on with the attitude that “germs improve your immune system” is now vigorously sanitized. Little Susie hasn’t gone grocery shopping with you for almost a year.
The tap option on our debit and credit cards is an unexpected win during the pandemic. The little serotonin rush you get when you know that you can just tap your card instead of inserting it and manually pressing the germy pin pad is exhilarating. Conversely, it has the opposite effect when your tap does not work, and the unit says to insert your card.
Back in your car, you grab the hand sanitizer, and everyone gets a squirt before heading to the next destination. You could just leave your mask on while you are driving to the next stop, but we tend to laugh at those people – the ones that drive around as sole occupants and insist on wearing their mask. The joke is on us as they have probably figured out that if you just leave your mask on while you are going from store to store, no extra steps are incurred.
Finally, there is the post grocery drive home where you wonder if the person you chatted with in the frozen food aisle is actually the person you thought they were. The eyes looked familiar, and the responses seemed on point, but who really knows.
Judy Kucharuk is a community columnist living in Dawson Creek.