Wednesday September 23

Mother's back suddenly bad again.  She doesn't like to talk about it, it makes her cry.

Friday September 25

An unpleasant incident happened at the store today.  Mid-afternoon I heard Tib arguing, loudly, with a customer; that is, it was the growing volume of the argument that first caught my attention.  Voices were sounding heated, so I thought I'd better investigate.  As I made my way towards the front of the store I saw a woman angrily tearing down the signs we'd put up telling people they had to wear masks while shopping in the store.  She was, I gathered by her shouted comments, an anti-masker, and Tib had apparently called her a MAGAT, which was obviously not a good thing to do.  She then called us horrible Democrats, which I guess was the best she could come up with in the excitement of the moment.  I told her that she needed to leave the store, she was bouncing around in the doorway expelling a lot of heated breath while maskless, and at one point in the midst of all this I laid my hand on her shoulder for (literally) a period of maybe one second.  Still, I knew instantly that I could be punished for this.  So did she.  Our eyes met, hers flaring; she pulled away from me and immediately began to shout, You just assaulted me!  You assaulted me!  This was obviously untrue, and I denied it, but . . .

About an hour later a man comes in, short, scrawny little guy, and asks for my name.  I gave him my first name; he wrote that down and asked what the rest was.  When I asked him why he wanted to know he said he was the husband of the woman I'd assaulted, and that she had a heart condition (which he named but I didn't recognize).  I told him I hadn't assaulted his wife and had no idea what the condition he named was.  He said, softly and smugly, Oh, don't you?  That's so sad.  As in I pity you, you fool.  I refused to say anything more to him, and he said I'd be hearing from his lawyer.

So that happened.

Monday September 28

Well, for a few days my anxiety and worry were intense.  The incident at the store was ugly, but minor; what worried me was the look of zealotry in the eyes of that woman, and her husband's smug satisfaction:  We've got you now.  If they found a lawyer equally dazzled by ideology, dazzzled to the point where a simple act in service of public health is equated with the death of liberty, then even if their case had no merit they could make my life miserable for awhile.  But, having thought it over (and done some research), I've come to realize two things.  One is that the brief moment my hand was on the woman's shoulder was a defensive, not an aggressive, gesture; also, by ripping the signs about masks off our doors the woman had committed an act of vandalism and could be so charged.  The second thing is that these are not essentially powerful people.  And they know it.  They saw a chance to puff themselves up and act as warriors for the cause, but they know they've nothing more than pebbles to throw.  Still and of course, put those two with a dozen, a hundred, a thousand more, and what do you get?  Something ugly and frightening indeed.