Iíve stayed close to home during this pandemic.
Iíve worked some from home and have had limited contact with friends and family.
Thatís been difficult.
In the last couple of weeks my wife and I have began to venture out.
I knew weíd be wearing masks, so I prepared.
I have masks with my dog breed on them, masks with my favorite sports teams,which I cannot watch, and masks that make me look like Iím about to perform surgery.
It turns out the world has changed more than I realized.
We took a drive to Paragould to returns shirts that I had ordered on-line.
Without being able to try them on, I quickly realized they only covered a part of my upper torso, giving the impression of another human being trying to escape from under the shirt.
As we entered the department store, masks in place, I noticed no one was behind the perfume and jewelry counters.
It made the front of the store resemble a barren, apocalyptic setting.
Large bottles of hand sanitizer were scattered everywhere.
I approached the service desk and informed the clerk I would like to exchange the shirts.
She mumbled through her mask, that would be fine, and directed us to the menís section in the back of the store.
At least I think thatís what she said. The mask muffled her voice, so she could have been telling me to go fly a kite.
I walked to the back of the store and picked out two shirts.
Off I went to the dressing room to try them on so I would be certain they fit.
As I approached the dressing room, or janitorís closet, I couldnít be sure due to the fog on my glasses resulting from the escaped breath from the top of my mask, I noticed yellow caution tape crisscrossed
over the area.
Exasperated, I asked the clerk where the closest dressing room was, that was not under construction.
She informed me that all were closed due to the pandemic.
Back to the service desk in front we went, my shirts in hand, praying I could button them when I got home.
A long line awaited me.
I quickly reversed my direction and headed back for the cashierís station in the back of the store.
Feeling my way like a drunken sailor due to my perpetually fogged glasses, the cashier informed me, in muffled mask voice, that returns had to be processed at the service desk only.
I felt bad for my wife, as by then my face was as red as my mask.
I knew better than to yell at her though, because I needed to hold her hand as she guided me back to the front service desk.
I wonít even get into the meltdown I had in the restaurant.
Yes, it is a different world out there. Iím working on my acceptance again.
Until that time Iíll stay close to home.
Itís hard to walk and breathe in these tight shirts anyway.
See you out there.