I entered the small post office branch on a lazy Sunday afternoon in late March. It looked deserted. Lucky me, I thought, since I’m freaking out over the coronavirus. Maybe I could get in and out without getting infected. I wore gloves but no mask. (CDC advisory had not yet changed.)
But I wasn’t alone for long.
Soon, a young man arrived and I glanced at him suspiciously. “Probably asymptomatic,” I thought, gloomily. To his credit, he waited behind me the requisite six feet, though I felt like he was breathing down my neck. I was retrieving my book of stamps from the machine when I heard him sneeze behind me. Not a dainty kerchoo, but a seismic discharge that seemed to shake the lobby.
I felt helpless. Instinctively, I held my breath, grabbed my stamps and gloves and dashed out the door faster than an Olympic runner.
I waited and waited for days, thinking surely that sneeze meant the end of me at age 71. I am susceptible to the whims of coronavirus. Underlying health conditions, you see. But, thank God, I escaped this time.
Sneezes, coughs, every little sniffle are the enemy. I wonder when we’ll ever be all able to say with a straight face, “Oh, it’s nothing, just seasonal allergies!!”
© Ron Cooper 2020