My original blog was Hoses of the Holy (ca. 2003), which ended up being abandoned in the dark days of 2007. I started this one in 2011. Scroll down for the archives!

Chinstrap wonders

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Kid B is off to university soon, and we had a few bits to pick up in Milton Keynes. For example, no way I was letting her go off without a very sharp kitchen knife, so a visit to T K Maxx was in order. (The best place to get your kitchen equipment, stuffed full of bargains.) Was slightly dreading the trip because MK is an indoor shopping centre, which means wearing a mask for the entirety of the visit. I think it’s the first time we’ve been since February.

There’s a one-way system in the shopping centre. Down one side of the aisle, and up the other. Further complicated by the larger stores having an entrance on one side of the shopping centre and an exit on the other. A certain lack of coordination here, so that many of them had these entrances/exits on the same side, and you’d have to loop around… ugh. It’s exhausting just writing it down.

There are things about this pandemic that have pushed us into doing what we ought to have been doing all along. Shopping less. Flying less. Washing our hands more. Giving each other space. We’re currently in the unpleasant phase of realising that, for example, an outing to the shopping centre for its own sake, with no need or purpose behind it, is not something you’ll be doing any more. Window shopping, in other words, is a thing of the past. Because going somewhere you don’t need to go in order to wear a mask, dodge sociopaths, and meekly follow a one-way system is not a pleasure.

So. Masks. One way system. Lots of opportunities for toxic personalities not to comply. You’ve got your toxic masculinity; your toxic seniority (pensioners); your toxic Karenility. Of course, some people might have some kind of ‘medical’ excuse (I’m very sceptical of all of these I’m afraid); and people eating or drinking get a bit of a pass. But: along with window shopping, eating and drinking as you walk about? Also a thing of the past. It’s neither necessary nor couth. Anyway, it all adds up to non-compliance.

There are four levels.

  1. Not following the one-way system but wearing a mask.
  2. As above, but wearing a mask only over your mouth, not your nose.
  3. As above, but wearing a mask as a chin strap.
  4. Not following the one way system and not wearing a mask.

(Which could be a lot more levels, if you consider following the one-way system vs. not. But I am going to stipulate that someone not wearing a mask and yet following the one-way system is only doing so by chance.)

The category 4 people really seemed to be the most sullen and resentful type, shuffling along radiating hatred for everyone around them. It’s really hard to stop yourself pointing fingers and denouncing them.

I said it at the beginning of all this, and I still believe it now. The pandemic has revealed the sociopaths among us like never before. It’s like something out of The Scarlet Letter. People are displaying their pathology and might as well be painted Day-Glo orange or indeed wearing a giant red S for sociopath on their foreheads.

I’m not suggesting we round them all up and execute them in football stadia, but we might consider not kissing or hooking up with them. What a time to be alive!

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