Don't You Dare Shake My Hand
One of my favorite hobbies is trying to find the best deals I can find at thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets. This isn't particularly glamorous by any means, but the challenge is thrilling. I have 5 sons, so trying to dress them all in quality clothes that they love is difficult, if not near impossible. Our large family is always looking for ways to reduce our waste and prevent unnecessary purchasing of new items, so we up-cycle as much as we can. I am always on the hunt for what they are needing for the next season. All of the kids are playing baseball in the upcoming months, so I have been desperately searching for baseball pants. All five of them have taken to attempting to slide into home, any chance they get. This past weekend, I went hunting for baseball pants.
The particular thrift store that I went to was packed. It was the first weekend of the month, so every single item in the store was 50% off. Thrifters are very serious about a good deal and when you add an additional 50% off, people lose their minds. I am one of those people. I was standing in line, with no less than two dozen people in it. I had found baseball pants, a brand new scuba gear set (because you never know, I might take up scuba diving. Pay no mind to the fact that I live in Indiana), a unicorn, a Batman Bat Cave toy, and a Power Ranger laser. I had hit the jackpot. I knew I had at least a 45 minute wait ahead of me, but 50% off my entire purchase kept me motivated.
Shortly after I got in line, an ambulance and fire truck pulled up in front of the store. Everyone was looking around the store, trying to figure out what was going on. There hadn't been an accident, there was no fire, and no one could see anyone hurt or in distress. Everyone in line started speculating about what was happening.
I was at the back of the line, listening and observing to what was happening around me. I was trying to figure out what was going on, just like everyone else. There was a family in front of me that began panicking and shouting that someone probably "came down with the Corona Virus". They immediately put their shirts over their mouths. This panic swept the store. From the back of the line all the way to the front, patrons and workers alike began putting their shirts over their mouths.
There isn't much that surprises me. I have five kids, three younger sisters, was an Army brat, and have been a social worker, but this event surprised me. It wasn't the pointless covering of their mouths that surprised me. It wasn't the idea that people genuinely believed that you would call an ambulance and a fire truck if you thought someone contracted the Corona virus that surprised me. It wasn't the fact that people were staying at the thrift store even though they believed someone with the Corona virus was potentially exposing them that surprised me. It wasn't the total disregard to the fact that they were much more likely to come into contact with many other concerning germs in a store that sold used goods than the coming into contact with the Corona Virus that surprised me. The total lack of human regard and concern surprised me. Not one person, staff or patron, stopped what they were doing to see if everyone was okay. Not one person, staff or patron, was concerned about the truth. Everyone stood in line, with their mouths covered by their shirts, waiting to purchase their 50% off jeans and puzzles.
Eventually, someone was wheeled out with a bandage on their head. They had fallen in the back while working. Even after everyone knew what was happening, that there was no Corona virus contraction emergency, they kept their shirts over their mouths. No one spoke to each other in line. There was barely any interaction at the checkout counters. They became so engulfed in fear, that they forfeited any human connection.
We are all fearful of what this virus can do, but we have been afraid before. We were afraid of West Nile, SARS, Bird Flu, Ecoli, Swine Flu, Ebola, and the Zika Virus, and rightfully so. While we should take proper precautions and react appropriately, we shouldn't let fear dictate what we do and how we do things. When fear is our motivator, we make decisions that aren't rational. Let science and rationale guide us during these times. You all know what you should do (that's right Karen, wash your hands), but don't let this virus stop our human connection and interaction.
Here at Rebel Herbs, I have the opportunity to be the Operations Manager to an amazing staff. We throw the best holiday parties. This past month, we had a party for Valentine's Day where we ate pizza and cheesecake, played pop culture trivia, and passed out some pretty amazing awards including the "Are you Google? Because you're Everything I'm Looking For" award, the "Your Eyes Are Like IKEA,...I Get Lose in Them" award, and many more. We laughed, shared valentine's like we were in elementary school again, and talked.
It was one of those moments where I felt totally connected with my staff. I get to hear stories about their families, learn about their life outside of work, see them smile, and hear them laugh. It fills my cup, every time we do this.
You don't have to shake hands with or be physically near someone to connect with them. Strangers, families, co-workers, and friends all need human connection. Don't stop sharing moments with those around you. Fill your cup, but just don't forget, ...don't you dare shake my hand.