TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 7:00 AM
Publix, the grocery store chain, advertised a 7AM opening for the elderly only so I showed up with dozens of other seniors in the dark many of whom were wearing surgical masks, the first I have seen here in New Bern. Two Publix customer service people were wiping down the grocery carts and metered them out to the customers who had to wait to go in and created quite a congregation because no one wanted to be within 6 or 10 ten feet of anyone else. Traffic was blocked in the front of the store because of this.
This continued as we all traveled in transverse chaos through the aisles. Trying to maintain “social distance” and pushing carts created the strangest traffic jams that were humorous. But no one was laughing and no one was smiling. (OK, I found their antics funny). The Publix associates were trying to restock shelves and were greeting all these silver haired folks with cheery “Good mornings!”, they are friendly bunch. But the greetings fell pretty much on deaf ears (literally?). And the elderly avoided making eye contact.
You could see on the faces of the old people expressions that ranged from concern to fear. Even the ones who wore masks; you could see it in their eyes. These are scared people, I said to myself. They moved with a nervous speed; they wanted to get this over with get out; no leisurely shopping this trip. Only husbands who were with their wives spoke.
Wow, this is history.
I knew this because there was a Channel 12 News reporter out in the parking lot who wanted my take on this China virus pandemic. Maybe I’ll be famous.