Too Much Distancing

My friend’s refrigerator died just when the refrigerator is most needed in this 90 degree (Fahrenheit not Celsius) weather. Not completely dead. Just the freezer part. He blames his bad luck, considers the manufacture unreliable, and opts to buy a new one of a different brand instead of calling for a repair man. At the store, the shop assistant ran into an argument with a man queuing before my friend–this is according to my friend’s inadequate description. He can usually describe a thing well, but not when he was upset. As the man advancing to voice his desire for an appliance, the shop assistant retreat at the same pace and ask the man to keep a good distance. Obviously uncomfortable with talking to somebody more than 6 feet away–he had to raise his voice and he couldn’t feel the same conversational vibe he usually gets–the man was annoyed. An unpleasant tit-for-tat ensued, resulting in the man finally shouting, “why did you come to work if you are so afraid?” My friend fully sympathized with the man. Afraid that he might get the same treatment from the shop assistant, my friend left. When I heard my friend’s story, I feel sorry for everybody. My friend is unhappy, the man is angry, and the shop assistant is anxious to stay healthy. At the age of uncontrollable virus spread, everybody loses.

I have to say I usually do not agree with my friend. His view, as a small business owner, is very conservative. If he’s not an Asian immigrant, he would have aligned himself with the Republicans. The problem is that people he comes into contact with in shops, restaurants, and other establishment usually do not interact with him in the way he imagines. People don’t really think customers are always right–well, in the age of virus rampage, customers are dangerous.

The shop assistant is most likely afraid of the potential virus infection, but she needs the money. She has to work. Worse, her family’s health insurance plan is probably entirely dependent on her job. Quitting her job will incur health care problem for her family, which is even more serious than the loss of the income.

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