Pam convinced me that I ought to visit the local supermarket and do a little shopping to get a feel for how things have changed since last March. Good idea I thought. We decided to visit our small local supermarket. Pam would accompany me while I did all of the shopping and made the payment.
What could go wrong?
When we arrived, I sat in the car and looked at the front of the store. Only a few of the customers wore face masks, and the member of staff controlling the entrance was not wearing one. I noticed some incident tape strung between some bollards and Pam told me that we needed to queue until we were allowed to enter. I began to feel very uneasy.
Once inside, I saw that none of the staff wore any PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), including the shelf-stackers, and that people were not observing any social distancing etiquette whatsoever. The reality I was experiencing was NOTHING like what I had imagined after listening to the Government guidance and the recommendations of health experts, and I felt as though I had entered a madhouse.
I felt lost and out of place.
There seemed to be no logic or consistency to any of the precautions.
I didn't know what I was supposed to do or where I was supposed to go.
I felt like a scared child.
I began to experience feelings of bewilderment and panic - it was all so unlike what I had expected. It seemed surreal that so many people had no regard for the safety of themselves and others. It was as if there was no threat, and it was business as usual except for a couple of masked individuals.
I couldn't read my list properly, and I couldn't concentrate on filling my trolley. I just wanted to get out! I bought a couple of small things, then signalled that I had had enough.
At the checkout, Pam had to remind me about where I had to stand - I would never have noticed otherwise. I was overwhelmed and bewildered... I was frightened.
I wanted to run out.
I wanted to weep. We made it back to the car, and I was shaking like a leaf. I kept apologising to Pam for being silly, but the fact is, I was robbed of my self-confidence by the strangeness of the experience. Things simply weren't how I had expected them to be and I didn't know the rules.
I simply cannot do this stuff anymore. I lack the ability to take it all in and still function correctly. I'm very disappointed in myself.