Fightin’ Times

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Last week on entering Costco where I work part-time, it surprised me to see an armed police-type standing at the entrance and apparently on the job. This is a first, I thought, and wondered why, but in a moment and once inside, the store’s activity consumed me. The next day and spotting another guard, I again wondered before quickly becoming sidetracked.

Yesterday a Costco employee explained that recently a protest group showed up and intent on entering Costco. Those protesters were denying the reality of coronavirus, refusing to wear masks and resisting attempts to prevent them marching in the store. Before they got very far inside, however, the Costco team managed to turn around and force the group outside. After identifying the protesters and cancelling their individual memberships, Costco hired armed guards to watch the store’s entrance.

It feels strange that protesters are attracted to this relatively quiet Central Oregon community nestled in the Cascades, but passions are exploding and so are protests. Recently, at the base of Pilot Butte, a local landmark, a confrontation occurred. It consisted mainly of shouting and fist-fighting, but a police investigation found at least one loaded weapon.

Hints of that larger picture are played-out in Costco. People entering must wear a mask, but immediately afterwards many pull down their masks and walk around. They breathe on clothing and other product displays, and move closely in to question or comment to employees. I mentally turn my favorite t-shirt read (“I tell unfunny jokes because I’m an asshole”), into “I don’t wear a mask because I’m an asshole”. This may quash a tiny bit of anger and helplessness but doesn’t begin to tap my fervent wishes for a trap door and lever. I’d pop and drop those who annoyingly insist that “the pandemic is a hoax”.

Another of my favorite t-shirt reads: “Please, let 2020 end!”

Dear Friends: Don’t forget tonight’s debate between V-P competitors. Go, Kamala! Diana

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