Hellish Grocery Stores, Honking, and Other Sins

Friends, family, and even TV personalities have mentioned that they’ve been going on walks to break up their time under lockdown. Walking through the outside world must bring some small comfort when the size of your universe has shrunk from the infinitesimal to the meager square footage of your hovel. And yet, though I’m locked in like everyone else, I haven’t gone for a walk yet. I haven’t even gone for a leisurely drive. Perhaps I will still do the latter, but the former, the walks, haven’t even crossed my mind.

My skin has become translucent; on Facetime calls, my bald head resembles an orb of white light. This must be due to the lack of sunlight. But, as I said, walks don’t interest me. It’s such an ordeal to go out now: masks, gloves, and burning all of your clothes when you get home. It’s tiresome. I get in my car and go to the grocery store in the early morning once a week, and that drains me. Something about going through the rigors of braving the supermarket, which was already a plebeian hell-scape prior to the pandemic, really depletes my “mingling with the proletariat” reserves. I am, of course, kidding. I’m a plebeian. I’m a prole.

In my trips to the supermarket, I manage to see fellow cautious and properly-geared humans like myself, but I also see the slobs of the world who can barely muster the interest in the health of their fellow humans to put on a mask, gloves, or follow the arrows indicating the direction of one-way aisles.

Clearly, my weekly grocery store trips conjure up some lovely emotions, all worthy of your reading eyes. But for this reason, that the grocery store gouges out my soul every seven days and I spend the rest of the week repairing the damage, I have no interest in going on a walk. I don’t want to see anyone that I don’t have to, for my health, but mainly because I’d just rather not.

And this brings me to a newfound occurrence in the pandemic times. Because birthday parties and various celebrations are forbidden, a new display of solidarity has arisen in the form of caravans of cars, trucks, vans, and even firetrucks driving through residential areas blaring their horns to show appreciation for someone’s birthday, graduation, and a host of other thin reasons to cause a calamity. These rolling cacophonies terrorize utterly silent neighborhoods. Not once have I heard the honking parade and thought, “how nice.” No, I’m filled with utter contempt for their disruption of my day by way of their unspeakably harsh symphony of awful. Such offensive noises can really harsh a morning mellow, let me tell you.

Please make it stop.

There must be a better way to celebrate these people — something between nothing and full-blown ear assault. Has everyone lost their goddamned minds? We have rules here.

Actually, I’ve honked as such. When I was a senior in high school and for a few years thereafter, my best friend — who has been like a brother for well over 20 years — and I would drive past our friend’s house who lived a town over late at night. I would hold down my horn and slowly roll the car past the house, honking until we could no longer see the house. We liked to imagine that these infrequent late-night auditory assaults caused havoc in her family, with her father driven to his wits’ end, frantically waiting for the next honking, hoping to catch the rat bastards disturbing his evenings. In our fantasy, the father was driven mad by the honking, driving a wedge between he and his family, starting screaming matches over his obsession, and widening the rift every day until the family fell apart. Damn that honking.

Why did we do this? Apart from adolescent immaturity and potential sociopathy, we found the disruption to their peaceful night amusing — and I confess, we still do find the concept quite enjoyable. In fact, we’ve talked about honking that house again 10 years later. But, I digress. Due to karmic justice, I fear I must allow the honking parades, but know that I’m not pleased.

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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