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I Just Went Shopping Maskless... and It Was Glorious

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

I can still remember the early days of the pandemic when reports of empty shelves had people stocking up on essentials in a panic. I didn’t panic then, but, in the interest of making sure we had “something” in the event of a supply chain problem, I went to my local Walmart and tried to get at least a few things “just in case.”

It was a crazy scene. People weren’t fighting over the last roll of toilet paper or anything like that, because the shelves were pretty much bare. I’d never seen anything like it. I wasn’t able to get much. Some meat, chicken, and beef.  Hot dogs, though not the brand my son prefers, and a few other odds and ends.

And that was probably the last time I went shopping maskless. Until today.

This morning I had to return a couple of things to Home Depot. I’d just been there the day before and was well aware of the sign posted at the entry informing customers to wear masks per the CDC’s guidelines.

The sign was not there today.

Still, in the abundance of caution, I entered with a mask on at first, before confirming that there were customers and employees maskless. That took about five seconds and I pulled the mask off my face quicker than you can say “Fauci is a fraud.”

I then returned my items without incident.

I was in and out quickly, so it wasn’t much of an experience, but then I had to go to Walmart to pick up some groceries. It took longer to be sure that they weren’t imposing mask-wearing despite the CDC guidelines, but once it was clear that there were employees and customers maskless I unshackled my face from COVID-bondage and enjoyed the glorious experience of shopping without a mask—something that I had not experienced in over a year. Generally speaking, I hate shopping, but this was a moment I really wanted to savor. Sure, there were some people wearing masks still. Maybe some weren’t vaccinated yet. Maybe some were but still chose to mask up. Hey, whatever. I’m fully vaccinated, and I want to feel normal again.

As someone who wears glasses most of the time, it was great being able to walk around without fogged-up lenses. And, I don’t care what anyone says, when it’s hot out, it’s really uncomfortable to breathe while wearing a mask.

I was wondering if I’d get asked for proof of vaccination, or if I’d get dirty looks from some maskholes, but none of that happened. I got what I needed. Sure, I couldn’t make faces at people without them knowing, but that’s a small price to pay. I was shopping without a mask, pushing my cart down multiple aisles and not getting harassed.

And to think many thought it would be years (multiple) before we’d get to this point. But here we are. In less than a year we have not one, but three vaccines. It’s an accomplishment President Trump deserves a lot of credit for, which, sadly, so many will do their best to make sure he never gets.