I waited in the line that formed outside Walmart. Because of the abnormally freezing temperatures throughout the week in central Texas, and the consequent power outages, grocery stores were short on foodstuffs, and customers were allowed inside selectively to avoid chaos. We stood outside with our masks on our faces. And we waited our turn.
I find myself calmed in these situations, strangely. Sometimes bumper to bumper traffic has the same effect. It's as if I take comfort in the opportunity to be stuck. And I can let go of feeling like I must decide to be somewhere or do something.
We faced forward like soldiers except we chatted a bit, mostly about the difficulties that we or others in our lives had encountered during the week. Then after a few minutes of silence, I heard the woman behind me say, "Oh, I hate this new world we live in."
It was like a hissing directed toward no single person. Just her dark complaint, borrowed from some talk-radio show probably, released aloud to mankind.
This sucks. I hate this. Pass it on.
Except I found it unconvincing. And I just let it drift away.