Hit The Deck!

Source: Clipart Lilbrary.com

Let’s get down to some brass tacks, whaddya say? You know, lower the polite facades we keep and admit to a few social indiscretions.

I know, I know. No one likes to be judged. But I promise that you are in a safe place here today. After disclosure, we’ll only snicker about you during pillow talk with our significant others. Well, or whomever else might be sharing that pillow.

What I’m looking for are some recent examples of times when you might have stuck out like a sore thumb in a public setting. I’m not referring to one of those Allen Funt, “caught-in-the-act-of-being-yourself” moments. No, that’s way too comical. Instead, I’m looking for more of a “Dear G-d, what have I f’n done?” type of faux pas; the kind where you’re back to being age 11, and all you want to do is melt through floorboards and hope that no one will ever see you again. Why? Because, of course, this is precisely what happened to me recently.

I sneezed in public. Loudly. People looked at me. It was embarrassing. I felt 11. I also felt 50, but that’s probably best explained in a separate post.

Try as we may in this hour of awkward reemergence, our forays into public spaces aren’t going as smoothly as some of us would like. Was the CDC a might hasty in establishing that new mask guidance of theirs? I have no idea; I’m not a virologist. But I do know that I’m never sure how to act anymore when I go into places. For a whole year it was easy: I wore a mask everywhere. That was quite helpful because doing so hid the acne which constantly formed from wearing the damn things.

But now things aren’t as simple. We’re told, for instance, that if we’ve had our vaccine shots we no longer need to wear one unless we’re at a doctor office, while traveling on a plane, bus, or train, or while inside a Victoria’s Secret.

Okay I made up that last one, though it’s not a bad idea. If you’re a husband who always feels uncomfortable being dragged there while your wife spends what feels like hours sifting though endless displays of unmentionables, wearing a mask takes your mind off the fact that you have no idea where to put your hands.

My brethren
Source: Twistedswifter

Speaking of businesses, certain ones are requesting that you continue to wear masks. As with you too I bet, I still carry one around with me because I’m never sure about the rules. Sometimes I put it on simply because I’m around others who wear them, even though we’re all ostensibly in a place where it’s not required. I do so to be considerate. But then I worry that everyone else will see me as someone who’s decided not to get the vaccine. It can be exhausting if you allow it to be. And I do.

Which brings us back to that sneeze I mentioned earlier.

Public displays of sneezes and coughs have been metaphoric landmines over the last year. We’ve adjusted to artfully (or not) scamper from them to what we believe will be safer environs, all the while silently maligning the guilty party for his or her’s shameless action. “I would never do something like that” after all.

But I did. In public, loudly, and with several heads turning to look at me afterwards.

I blame the overhead ceiling fans at our gym, which is where this incident took place. The old facility simply relied on normal air flow via a ventilation system designed for commercial use. People probably still sneezed there also, but I definitely didn’t think about it prior to entering the building. Now, however, I’m immediately uncomfortable under these huge fans at this new place because they blow down hard as I’m huffing and puffing away on the elliptical. The combination of my own perspiration, along with the blowing draft from above, makes both my head and nose constantly tingle.

Gorgeous just laughs at me when I complain about it on the way home. She says that she likes the fans.

Bully for her.

Our new gym’s very large ceiling fans

One morning last week, all the elements created a perfect storm in my nasal passages. I tried focusing on the stock market ticker on the TV above my machine, hoping that if I concentrated hard enough on the Dow and Nasdaq performance at that very moment, I could somehow avoid blowing a hooley. But it was all for naught. Although I brought up my arm quickly enough to muffle and stop the spray, the sound of my sneeze was still loud enough so that every head within shouting distance turned in my direction.

There wasn’t so much scattering (people were also on machines after all) as there was that universal expression of disgust on all the nearby faces.

I would never do something like that.

I kept my head down for the duration of the workout. Listening to “When Doves Cry” never felt so validating. Lest anyone keeping an eye on me, I made an extra special effort to wipe down my machine afterwards. As we’ve been told countless times over the last year, we’re all in this together. Right? Just say yes, it’ll make me feel better.

I haven’t returned to the gym since. I’m hoping that the longer I wait, the less the chances are that anyone will recognize me. You’re allowed to think like that when you’re only 11.

So just wave and keep your distance if you see me at the gym. I’ve had my shots, of course, but why take a chance?

Until next time…

31 thoughts on “Hit The Deck!

  1. Oh! I’ve got you beat! I ventured out to look for some new jeans. So far…so good.
    Well…those jeans must have been doused with a chemical that silently warned…”touch me and you die.” I immediately felt a sneeze combing on. Fumbling through my purse, I went pilfering for a Kleenex. Just in the nick of time…mask down, Kleenex places over nose and a sneeze that could have possibly wakened any sleeping baby within a hundred yards.
    Ok. Kleenex put in pocket of unchemicalized jeans I was wearing, mask up…and here comes another one!
    FIFTEEN sneezes later and a Kleenex so full of what I came to believe was actually spinal fluid, I decided that I didn’t need any more jeans. I’m not sure but there might have been applause when I exited the store. 🥴

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The jeans story just might top yours. At the end of the day, most people totally forgot about you because something even more disgusting happened. I don’t know what it was but I’m sure it happened. During the height of the pandemic I was so excited I ran into Starbucks without my mask. I started talking to a barista and realized I could actually hear her. That’s when I knew something was wrong. No mask. I was mortified lest they think I was a disbeliever or some bizarre theory person. I put my head in my elbow, apologized and left. The next day I walked in, mask in place, as if it never happened. It did happen once again a few weeks later. What can I say. I’m a slow learner especially pre-coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That happened to me at a convenience store. I ran in for a lottery, spoke to the cashier who was wearing a mask, and when I ran back out to my car I realized I wasn’t wearing mine. I felt guilty. But, yeah, I suppose (hope) you’re right in that these interactions are but a blip on most people’s radar.

      Unless you’re a blogger, of course. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Although I haven’t sneezed as publicly as you, I feel uncomfortable even if I have to clear my throat around others. I hope things will settle down eventually and we can go back to our usual germ-infested selves without worrying that what we spew could kill someone. Those ceiling fans look like Big Ass Fans (best company name ever)… they can really create a breeze. I’m pretty sure they’ll let you back in the gym in a month or two.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. God bless you. I never sneeze just once. It’s usually a minimum of four times, but I have gone past six a number of times. No issues, just a tickle in my nose. Try not think about the possibility of multiple sneezes. Good luck returning to the gym.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. debscarey

    Like most of us, I’ve been entirely without a cold or cough since early 2020, despite being one to suffer from them all too frequently. So the sneezes have been largely absent, except for hay fever season which, coincidentally is starting up now – it’s late this year, but getting going. Feeling a sneeze coming while wearing a mask always makes me wonder what’s the right behaviour – sneeze into the mask, or remove it and sneeze into a tissue? I went for the fleeing at high speed from any members of the public option, but it’s going to be harder with more people out & about this year.

    And I agree with Jane, get back to the gym. Wear a T-shirt to make people smile & they’ll not care even if they do recognise you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The dive in flu outbreak numbers for last year is interesting, isn’t it Deb? With all of us distancing, we were fortunate to avoid most colds and flu strains. Probably the only positive thing we saw all year. Unfortunately allergies are omnipresent, ugh.

      I’m all for sneezing into the mask and immediately switching to a second one. But after that I’m in trouble. 🥺

      Like

  6. I feel your pain. My husband sneezes not once but 6-8 times when he gets going. He’s done it for his entire life, and in the past we’d get some looks especially in the winter when someone was concerned about cold and flu season. Since Covid started, I always chuckled that if it happened in public someone would probably call 911 to have him transported out of wherever he was. Now, on to another topic. I have a snake in the garden that needs relocating. Any help available? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My ex-wife sneezed like that. I used to ingratiate myself with her by verbally counting each one as she did them, and encouraging her for more to break the previous personal best. I suspect it’s might at least be one of the reasons why we’re no longer married. 😃

      Good luck with that snake, but I’ll pass! 🐍

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m gonna go with simple here – I naturally gravitated to this method of accommodating a sneeze whilst (!) being masked…
    I felt it coming on…I grabbed some fabric on my upper nose…yanked the mask below my mouth, but still clinging to my chin…and gracefully sneezed…into my bent elbow like how we used to do it politely and with regards to not spraying out into the general public back in the pre-Pandemic/pre-masked days.
    Once finished, I glided the mask back into place and did not feel guilty at all.
    So there!

    Liked by 1 person

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