Sunday 5 December 2021

I Didn't Mean To Be A Jerk

I spent the afternoon yesterday going through old books and papers from two boxes in our closet. 

They were unearthed when I had to move things out of the way for the roofing guy to access the attic to make sure there were no leaks from my damaged shingles.

The papers were from the 1990s, deeply personal and moving in the light of my husband's death this year. When I resurfaced, it felt like I had taken a trip back in time, and it was hard on my still-healing heart to have to return to the present.

It also made me later than I intended and it was time to take my mother's medications to her. I stopped at the grocery store first for a couple of items she needed, then made my visit to her.

After I left her home, I wanted to stop briefly at the Dollar Store to look for a few things. Then I decided to go to WalMart to get a card which I will need in the upcoming week. And, to be honest, to try to get my head out of the difficult space it was in before going home to an empty house.

I browsed the books and cards at WalMart for forty minutes, then went to the shampoo and soap section to make some selections.

It was when I picked up a bottle of pump soap to smell it that I realized I had forgotten to wear a mask. And although I usually have an extra in my jacket pocket, I had somehow taken it out and not replaced it, some time in the last week.

I was mortified. I am a firm believer in masks and any other health measures needed these days. I'm a rule-follower and expect others to be as well. 

Fortunately I was wearing a cotton scarf and I pulled that over my nose and mouth, made a beeline for the self-checkout and left the store.

I don't know if I wore my mask at the Dollar Store stop or not.

I know I wore it at the grocery store and at my mother's, because I remember adjusting it a few times. (The roofing guy didn't mask up when he came to my house, and at first I forgot as well, so I'm trying to be extra careful around my mother, just in case.)

I can't believe how occupied my mind was, to be completely unaware that I wasn't wearing a mask for at least forty minutes straight, and to be unable to recall if I was wearing one at the previous stop.

No one looked at me strangely. No one said anything. Luckily I was in a section of WalMart where there wasn't much traffic for the most part. But I do recall that when I stopped at the card section a young couple looked toward me and then left the area quickly. 

I wish I could go back and assure them I wasn't being a jerk, I was only missing the use of my brain at the time. And trying to distract myself so I wouldn't cry. Again.

Have you ever forgotten to wear your mask since they became required? If so, did anyone say anything to you? This has made me more sympathetic to anyone I might see in future who is not masked up. Maybe they'll just be having a brain glitch too.


Too late advice



37paddington said...

It has indeed happened to me that I forgot to mask up. After that I stuffed just in case masks in all my bags, and have had to use them too. We do our best. You did the best you could yesterday, all things considered, and that has to be enough. There will be such days. Hold grace for yourself.

kylie said...

I forget my mask on occasions and I don't have intense grief as an excuse. Go easy on yourself

Anonymous said...

I haven't of late but certainly in early days I forgot to mask up. I always have a spare in my pocket in case the ear loops break. I remember seeing the horror on faces when people had left somewhere and forgotten their masks.

No one ever said anything when I did forget to mask and it wouldn't have been for long. Some large shops here have loose masks you can pick up and use if you have forgotten one.

Janie Junebug said...

You're not alone. I have forgotten my mask a couple of times. I don't know how I can forget after all this time, yet it slips my mind.


messymimi said...

More than once i've stopped myself almost all the way up to where i was going and had to return to the car for a mask. Each time i ask myself how many years we'll have to do this before i quit forgetting.

You're not a jerk, and it's okay, we all forget sometimes.

Red said...

I forgot to wear my mask a few days ago in in Super Store. It was a real jolt. Like you I think we should wear masks and keep our distance.

River said...

Yes, I have forgotten my mask, once recently and once way back when we were just getting used to having to wear them. Both times I felt bad and got home as quickly as possible.
I'm sure many other people do this too, we are not alone.

jenny_o said...

37p, kylie, Andrew, Janie, Mimi, Red & River:

I'm relieved I'm not alone in this! Thanks for sharing your stories with me. I feel better knowing I'm not the only one who has forgotten.

Elephant's Child said...

You are emphatically not alone.
Our mask requirements recently lifted a little, but I forgot to take one with me when I just popped into the shops for a single item. I felt mortified and scurried in and out very quickly.

Mike said...

I usually keep one in my jacket pocket and for sure in the car. So one time I walked to Walgreens and there was no mask in my jacket. So I went to the checkout and asked for a mask. I got a 'don't worry about it'. Since it's a 15-minute walk back home I said screw it because there are always people in there with no masks. When I got to the pharmacy I asked for a mask and got a 'you can buy some up by the front door'. So on my way out of the store, I could pick up a mask that I wouldn't need 10 feet later.
Walgreens has a sign on their front door that says masks are mandatory.

dinthebeast said...

I've forgotten to put mine on while going into a store a couple of times, but we have a box of them in the glove compartment of the car, so I just went and got one. These days I have the green cloth one from JoAnn that the Chicken sent me in my coat pocket, so if I find myself somewhere around people without one on, I just have to take it out and put it on.
We got our booster shots a few weeks ago, but I wear the mask anyway.
I have noticed that fewer and fewer people seem to be wearing them in the grocery stores, though.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Oh! You're so not alone in this!
As late as Saturday my son had forgotten his mask - once again required in all buses and trains - and was only saved by me having an old (but unused) one in the deep of my pocket.
I also went shopping without one last week, but was quickly reminded (and given a free mask) by a nice employee.

Marie Smith said...

I have caught myself inside doors of stores three times without masks. It has required trips back to the car on occasion. I regularly cross parking lots without masks on, headed to the stores and remember masking at the last minute. No one has ever said anything though.

I can understand you forgetting to mask up when you were having such a rough day. Take care!

gz said...

I have forgotten my mask once in a beautiful sunny day.. luckily I wasn't far from a spare one.
We haven't stopped wearing it's cold weather I just put it on as I leave the house or car to keep the icy damp air off my chest . I can't understand people who are constantly taking off and putting on..the mask stays cleaner un-fiddled with!!

Steve Reed said...

I'm sure we've all done it! I sometimes forget when I go into a store, and sometimes I take it off at work when I have coffee and then forget to put it on again. It happens.

Jennifer said...

I've done it a few times too! It happens. We just have to do the best we can and not best ourselves up for human lapses.

jenny_o said...

Elephant's Child, Mike, Doug, Charlotte, Marie, gz, Steve & Jennifer:

Again, I'm glad it's not just me. Maybe I didn't need to be as shocked at myself as I was. It was the first time I had ever forgotten. Well, the first time I know about ...

baili said...

i agree that without experiencing same situation it is hard to be in the shoes of other people dear Jenny .

what hurt me most is that you seem quite hard on yourself specially you realized that couple left the area as they saw you unmasked ,but may be you felt this way because you are being extra sensitive because of trauma you went through and your brain is tricking you by enlarging the images ? or it can be so but things happens and i am sure the couple also have forgotten to wear mask sometimes ,it is so normal for all . i hope you won't blame yourself for this anymore my sweet friend!

sending lots and lots of healing energy ,love and prays!

Diane Henders said...

The photo of the sign made me laugh!

I can only imagine your feelings when you discovered you'd forgotten your mask! I'm a rule-follower, too, and I'd feel the same way. But you can't change the past no matter how badly you feel about it, so I hope you'll be able to let it go. You're doing the best you can, and that's all you can do.

jenny_o said...

baili & Diane: I appreciate your lovely encouragement. Thank you, both of you.