I wasn’t sure if the woman behind us in line – a foot away and without a mask – was ignorant, oblivious or perhaps arrogant.

Sunday I did something I absolutely abhor but had to do anyway – go shopping at a big box store on a weekend. We needed to purchase a child’s birthday gift and we had been too busy to do so earlier. The party was that day and our store choices were limited, so I bit the bullet and went inside.

It took only seconds for me to regret it.

One of the first sights to greet my eyes was a woman with her mask over her mouth but not her nose, obliviously walking right past other shoppers, social distancing far from her radar. At least, I thought, she had on a mask.

As we went down the first aisle I encountered oncoming people, even though the signs at each end of the shelves clearly stated the one-way traffic flow was in our direction. Were they oblivious, or just didn’t give a you-know-what?

As I drew a deep breath I told myself they at least were wearing masks.

Our entire stay at the store was a parade of wrong-way shoppers, people with no masks, people with masks below their noses and people wearing their masks as chin straps — half maskers, if you will.

When it came time to check out, the store of course had only four of its vast multitude of checkout lanes open, so we got in line – in a lane with clearly marked six-foot social distancing markers by the way – behind the other customers with loaded carts to settle in for our long wait.

When the woman ahead of us turned back our way I was disgusted to see she was not wearing a mask. At least, I told myself as I bit my tongue, we were able to stay six feet away from her.

Not so with the woman who came up behind us breathing down Diane’s neck – of course also not wearing a mask. I was ready to ask her to step back when a family of shoppers came right up behind her, also ignoring the social distancing marks and with one woman having her mask below her mouth.

This time I could not bite my tongue. I made pointed remarks about the mask and social distancing requirements, which the woman behind us ignored and which only served to irritate Diane.

When we finally reached the cashier – a young man whose mask was beneath his nose – he asked me how I was doing. “I’ve been better,” I told him. “The person ahead of us and the one behind us were both not wearing masks.”

“And for the record,” I told him, “covering your nose is important, too.” He grunted in response, leaving the mask below his nose as he rang up our purchases.

As you may have guessed, I will not be shopping at that store again anytime soon.

For those of you who detest wearing a mask, I’m with you. They are hot, stuffy, uncomfortable and constantly fog up my glasses.

They also save lives.

Masks are not some mind control government hoax, they are an effective, scientifically proven method to slow the spread of COVID-19. By not wearing a mask you are potentially propagating the spread of the virus. If you contract the virus and go out without a mask you may well be killing our causing severe harm to anyone you come in contact with – and in turn the family and friends of those people.

If you believe your freedom is being impinged by wearing a mask then please be free at home or far from other people. If you are around a crowd then at the least – at the very, very, very, very least – stay at least six feet away from others. That, my friends, is the absolute bare minimum that you owe the around you who would love the freedom to live.

So now you know what’s on my mind regarding masks. Just in case you might care, even if just a little bit, you also know what’s on the minds of others whose eyes above their masks are casting irritated looks at an uncovered face.

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