|Posted by Miri on September 24, 2020 at 7:00 PM|
There's a corner shop about five minutes from my house that I frequent.... er, frequently.... and in our confined, curtailed, curfewed, completely collapsed and cold-conflicted covid-cancelled culture (hey!), it's one of the highlights of my social calendar - this is mainly because the staff are so friendly (not a muzzle in sight!), and Mark and I have struck up a bit of a rapport with the owner, a trim and bearded Asian gentleman aged about 60. He has quite a mischievous sense of humour, and whenever we go in with leaflet parcels, he enjoys weighing one, and announcing "that'll be £148, please", or, if it's a large order and he has to write our postcode on the side, "I will be keeping the change for my services". He does it quite deadpan, so the first couple of times we fell for it, and then he gives a beaming smile and says, "haha, I am only tormenting you!"
With all the leaflet orders, we've been spending quite a bit of time in there getting "tormented" (and inadvertently tormenting others, such as the woman we let go in front of us because she only had a small order, only for her to turn around and snarl, "it's against the law not to wear a mask, you know!" We reprimanded her appropriately - "actually it's not, you're the one breaking the law by discriminating against us and you're liable for a £9,000 fine" - at which our tormenting friend grinned widely), and the other day, he paid me a nice, but in other ways sadly revealing, compliment.
"You are always smiling," He said. "I like that."
It made me think about how many of his customers' smiles he must now be missing, and for someone who works flat-out like he does (the shop is open 6am to 10pm and he is virtually always there), engaging with customers must represent the bulk of his social interaction - but now he can no longer see their faces or their smiles.
Mark went in yesterday without me, and our friend was very displeased.
"This is no good," He told Mark sternly. "Coming in alone. Where is she? You look good together. I like to see my happy customers."
Obviously on one level he's just "tormenting", but on another he's revealing a sad truth - it matters a great deal to people to be able to see others' faces, see their expressions and see them smile, and it has a profound effect when we cannot, especially for someone who's whole life is centred around face-to-face interaction. I don't have much to do with the maskies because I spend the vast majority of my time at home, but someone who works in a shop and has to see dozens, if not hundreds, of them a day, it must have a really powerful effect - and clearly, not a good one.
Being able to see someone's face means you can see the full colourful array of all human emotions - happiness, sadness, excitement, surprise, concern, suspicion, delight, the full shebang. But when they're masked up, you see one emotion and one only - fear. The worst of all human emotions, the one with the lowest vibration, the one that has no positive angle at all and only paralyses and corrodes and destroys. And so it must be truly awful for a happy, upbeat, mischievously teasing shopkeeper like him, who's spent his whole life serving the community and being repaid by the smiling faces of happy customers, to now just be confronted with fear, fear, fear.
The people orchestrating all this are insidiously evil in a way that is impossible for any normal human being to fully comprehend (which, indeed, is why so many of them cannot), and they have studied human psychology intrinsically. They are fully conversant in the profound, integrating impact of "the little things" - a kind word from a shopkeeper, a smile from a stranger, and how these can be lifelines, the things that keep us going and brighten our days, even in the darkest of times. They've taken them away so that all we can see is eternal and impenetrable darkness.
We must be the light, which means eschewing the muzzle and smiling at strangers. It means disregarding the phony fear factory created by our criminally insane overlords and instead cracking jokes with shopkeepers. Even if this behaviour DID "spread a deadly virus" (and trust me, it really, really doesn't), I would still do it, because the purpose of being present on Earth at this particular juncture in history is not to "stay safe". it is to stay human.