So far during the COVID-19 crisis, I have maintained proper social distancing. I’ve been fortunate. No one has spit, coughed, or heavily breathed near me: until this afternoon.
I needed to retrieve a document from my car, so I grabbed a set of keys and headed to the parking lot. Halfway to my Mazda, I realized that I had left the car key ring in my condo unit. On my way back to the lobby, I saw a car pull up within twenty feet of me. Two young men got out. One of them spit on the cement. What a dangerous jerk! I didn’t want to be any closer to him or his buddy, so I rushed to the lobby to avoid them. I was overjoyed that they didn’t arrive while I was waiting for the elevator or as the elevator opened. But just as it was about to close, they lurched in. There were only a couple of feet between us, and both men directly faced me.
Momentarily, the guy who had openly sneezed committed another taboo: he vigorously blew a few times on his hands that he said were stinging him from disinfectant. Then he chuckled. What a nightmare! I held my breath until he and his cohort got off at a couple of floors before mine.
When I told my wife about my misadventure, she instructed me to wash my clothes and take a shower to decontaminate myself. And the next time that I leave the condo, I agreed to wear a makeshift mask that just happened to be embroidered with turtles.
How unnervingly reminiscent of Aesop’s story of the tortoise and the hare! I hurried like the hare, trying to outdistance the two guys into an elevator that would leave before they could reach it. I should have imitated the turtle, ever-so-slowly prodding along far behind the men so that I would enter the lobby after they had already taken an earlier elevator. In hindsight, I was harebrained.