Never let it be said that Dixon Bainbridge isn’t doing his part in the social contract during what has been called “these unprecedented times” too many times.
I’m wearing a mask to Woolies now, playing my part in reducing the spread and flattening the curve and fogging up my spectacles.
I’m letting small plastic machines defecate blobs of antiseptic goo into my cupped hands at every opportunity and I haven’t shaken a hand in months, which is probably for the best given the amount of goo that’s going around.
The word ‘hero’ gets thrown around too much these days so I don’t want to get too noble about it. Most of my sacrifices have been made at the behest of my wife, anyway, who insists that my underused lungs would be among the first to pack it in if the virus found its way into our house.
The face mask is uncomfortable, I must admit. My breathing is patchy, the straps make my ears stick out and, as mentioned, my glasses are perpetually foggy.
But the moral superiority I feel with the mask on in public makes it all worthwhile.
I’ve taken to giving a quick side-eye to unmasked shoppers, which is fun. You can see it in their eyes, too, the twinge of shame. I like to spice it up by refusing to cram into elevators, too, with a disparaging look at the irresponsible heathens cramming it in shoulder-to-shoulder.
The relative anonymity is a bonus, and when I pair the mask with a brown trilby I look a little bit like a cowboy running rear guard on a herd of buffalo. My daughter says I look like I play a lot of computer games, which I can only assume is a compliment.
My clients – the ones still coming to the office – are appreciative of my efforts to block the transfer of virus particles between us, though a couple of my older pension clients have complained that they can’t understand a word I’m saying. I suspect this isn’t much of a change in course from our usual interaction.
I may be getting inexplicably addicted to the smell of hand-goo. My usual preference is for alcohol to be imbibed orally; I’ve never thought to involve the olfactory senses before but for some reason smelling my anti-bacterial hands gives me a thrill.
The act of smearing goo around my hands as I walk around the supermarket also gives me an intoxicating feeling of moral betterment than my fellow shoppers. Sometimes I’ll just pretend to be rubbing it in well after the goo has dried, eyeing people off and snorting with derision behind my mask at their lack of societal responsibility.
This may need to stop, however. Dierdre caught on today and called me an elitist snob in the vegetable aisle, which I think is uncouth and unreasonable. It’s not snobbery, I told her, just self-confidence. I’m protecting my mental health during a challenging time by asserting my self-supremacy, I added.
You’re a buffoon, she said, and have the supremacy of a wooden egg cup.
I took the high road and didn’t reply, but I did give her a mean side eye from beneath the bill of my trilby.