If given the choice, I would rather navigate a single mast sailboat across the Pacific Ocean than attempt to weather the storm of emotions experienced by high school girls. In a world where best friends can be hard to distinguish from frenemies, a single scandalous act can land anyone at the bottom of the social food chain. So can, it seems, a single sneeze within Seattle after the recent outbreak of coronavirus.
Coronovirus has turned Seattle into a high school, but it also appears to be melting the Seattle freeze a bit. Lets pretend that the local Fred Meyer is gym class. People are doing sprints to get their groceries before they sell out. Trying to get hand sanitizer is pretty similar to playing capture the flag. The only way to get it is to be faster than the group of people chasing you. The carts of people who don’t wish to return anytime soon are overflowing with items, creating a great opportunity for resistance training. When I reached my turn at the check-out stand, my cashier looked like she had been picked last for the dodgeball team. It didn’t take long before she told me about the irate customer who yelled at her with the strength of a drill sargent when she refused to sell him more than the 5 bottles of hand sanitizer Fred Meyer allowed per person. He didn’t actually need them, she said. Her opinion, which just happens to be backed by the CDC, is that hand washing is more effective anyway. She told me about her grandpa who takes immunosuppresants after a heart transplant. She wasn’t able to get him any hand sanitizer before the store sold out. “He’s the one that needs it,” she asserted.
In the land of chilly passive aggression that is Seattle, this level of emotional outbursts is unprecedented. Perhaps we have entered the tense study period before taking the SATs, where everyone is on edge. The hipster eye roll has been replaced by the eye twitch. Instead of noses being stuffed in books, they are stuffed in masks. The usually bustling social scene has dwindled as people have holed up at home. At least they have Netflix instead of standardized testing manuals. Lets hope exams are over soon.