Real life

I removed my mask and all hell broke loose

24 October 2020

9:00 AM

24 October 2020

9:00 AM

The girl in the posh soap shop put her right arm out, palm flat in my face, and shouted: ‘Stand back! Step away from me now if you are going to remove your mask!’

I had been advancing on the Vetiver handwash, having failed to make myself clear through my mask to the assistant in her mask that this was what I wanted to buy and, being prevented from picking it up myself as the shop had a no-touch policy, I was driven to the brink of lawlessness.

‘Vetiver!’ I had begun pleading through my face mask as the girl lifted the wrong product off the shelves, over and over again.

She set Bergamot in front of me. She set Eucalyptus in front of me.

‘Vetiver!’ I begged, but all that was coming out was ‘e-i-ur!’

I pointed at the display cabinet and tried to single out the bright green bottle on the top shelf. Whereupon she got down Kelp and Magnesium.

All things considered, I unhooked one ear string and pulled my mask slightly away from my face and said: ‘ Vet-i-ver!’

And that was when all hell broke loose.

The girl dropped the products in her arms on to the cash desk, put her right arm out, palm in my face, and shouted: ‘Stand back! Step away from me now if you are going to remove your mask!’


It was like a scene from Law and Order, with me as the perp. I felt extremely guilty, not guilty as in, oh dear I shouldn’t have undone my mask a bit, but guilty as in, I am a dangerous criminal putting lives at risk and threatening the very fabric of our society. Head bowed in shame, I refastened my mask to both ears and vowed I would never do something so subversive again.

‘I’m just trying to tell you what I want,’ I said, back behind my mask so all that came out was ‘ar-o-ee or-a-ur-rr-el-u-rr- rrr-an!’

I think she then said she didn’t have to stand for abuse, and quite right too, but I can’t be sure because, as I say, she also had a mask on.

‘I’ll just take that one,’ I said pointing at one of the other handwashes.

‘Another one?’ She said, ringing two through. ‘That’ll be £64.’ I guessed that’s what she said. In fact, I only knew she said that because I saw two £32s come up on the screen.

After somehow miming that I only wanted one, I made a last-ditch attempt to be a human being and make up for my earlier transgression.

‘I bet you’re selling a lot of handwash, aren’t you?’ I said, as clearly as I could.

The stone-cold eyes above her mask stared back at me barely registering that I had spoken. I tried again, louder: ‘I bet you are selling a lot of handwash, aren’t you? With people washing their hands a lot? With Covid?’ I wasn’t striking the right tone, I was just yelling at her. And she looked as though she was about to call for store security.

So I gave up, paid in silence and left without saying goodbye.

I want to know when this virus became airborne. How did we get from it definitely not being airborne to it being so airborne that we must never again have normal human contact?

Clearly, this will creep inexorably until ministers are facing demands from the anti-Covid enthusiasts to bring in compulsory mask-wearing in all public places, outside and in, and then when that doesn’t work it will be compulsory mask-wearing everywhere, including the home.

That will be around the time they force vaccinate us all with an inoculation containing a microscopic ID chip. After that, with test-and-trace scanning at every venue we visit, the world powers will be able to download our locations at all times.

Until then, the authorities are working overtime on the propaganda. For example, those handwashing adverts. ‘I wash mah hands to protect mah family,’ says the cheerful northern lass.

‘I wash me ’ands to protect me mates,’ says the cheeky Cockney geezer, smiling as though it were an exciting change for him to put his hands under a tap.

And this to give the outrageous impression that working-class Brits are usually dirty but just because they’ve been asked by their betters to wash they’re doing it, which is the government’s way of explaining why we are in the position we are in.

It’s a monstrous lie. The builder boyfriend was scrubbing his hands raw and boiling himself in a bath so hot I can’t dip a finger in it before Covid and he’ll be doing it after it’s gone.

He would have liked a nice bottle of Vetiver handwash but alas, it was not to be.

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