By John Fraser
Ok. This is not the first time I have been told I was wrong, out-of-order, unwanted.
Although I have followed virtually every ministerial briefing since the arrival of the pandemic and studied most of the statements on the virus, I apparently know nothing about social distancing.
For what little it seems to be worth, I favour the 2-metre exclusion zone, as that is close to my height, and it is therefore fairly easy to judge if I am too close to another human being.
However, if you closely study the photo of the entrance to the Kings Meat Deli at the Lynnbridge Mall in Pretoria, you are likely to conclude that it offers a quite narrow opening into the store.
The chap at the entrance with the sanitiser spray device was standing just to the side of the door when I arrived and initially rejected my request to stand aside so I could safely enter. He offered a social distance of centimetres, not metres.
Eventually, reluctantly, he made a small step away from me and I nervously passed inside. More fool me.
Once inside, I headed to vent my fears at the checkout, where the staff are normally kind and helpful, but I was intercepted by a burly, aggressive butch butcher, who I assume was a member of management. He was not carrying a cleaver and so was probably undercover.
The idiot told me insistently there was no risk at the entrance of the store, and I stood no chance of infecting others or being infected when entering his shop – as I would be “moving” and you can not catch Covid-19 when you are moving. I suspect he has a severe case of butcher’s block.
The fact that one needs to stand still to receive a droplet of disinfectant on the hands from the charmless greeter, and would, therefore, not be moving all the time did not seem to have occurred to him. Even if his dismissal of the basic principles of social distancing were valid, he stuck to his guns, made me feel like the villain, and was as welcoming as a tarantula who has invited a fly to dinner.
He then forcefully and unpleasantly asked me whether I planned to purchase anything -as if I normally risk life and limb to wander around displays of bits of dead animals for no reason.
When he had succeeded in making me feel very nervous and very, very unwelcome, I flung down my shopping basket and stormed out.
It may not surprise you that I will never again return to that store after the arrogant, ignorant and threatening way in which I was treated. Which is a pity. Their butchery is far superior to their manners.
However, we are in the midst of a deadly pandemic – and while this butcher’s shop is used to dealing with dead creatures, I have no wish to be counted among them.
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