A few weeks ago, after our lamb Scotty died, Jon and I went shopping for a new rifle. The one he used to euthanize Scotty was old and wasn’t working right. We both felt it was important to have a rifle that was easy to use and working properly.
We called around and finally found a gunshop that had a .22 rifle. It was just what Jon was looking for. We had passed the shop before on the way to Glens Falls. They also sold shoes, which seemed nicely quirky to me and it looked like a friendly place.
The gun shop was big and spacious inside with lots of people walking around. Men, women, and children were looking at guns, talking to each other, having a good time.
But no one was wearing a mask.
It was surreal. I found it shocking.
I haven’t been around so many people since last march who weren’t wearing masks. It’s actually rare to see anyone not wearing a mask, even though we live in a place that overwhelmingly voted for Trump.
I felt like I had walked into one of my nightmares, the ones I started having regularly a few months ago.
In them, I’m in a crowd of people, who all seem to be enjoying themselves, and no one is wearing a mask. I start to panic and realize that I’m not wearing a mask either. I look around for it, but either can’t find one or the one I have doesn’t fit on my face.
I wake up agitated and frightened.
The woman who owned the gun shop was helpful, but I can’t say I felt comfortable there. I got the feeling we were all working hard to find common ground. We found it in the purchase of the rifle and some small talk about shoes.
I overheard a conversation about how the virus wasn’t as bad a people made it out to be. And when the owner asked one of the salespeople to show Jon a rifle, he wouldn’t even look at Jon.
I am still haunted by a pistol that was in one of the showcases.
It had Trump’s name and face engraved on the handle and the words “Keep America Great” on the barrel. It had the feeling of a fetish. Imbued with the spirit of anger and hatred.
Even if people have not had an experience like Jon and I did at the gunshop, I’ve talked to people who have had nightmares similar to the ones I’ve been having.
I’ve heard that we have some nightmares so that when we wake from them we can be grateful they’re not real.
I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling I got from being in the gun shop for days. I think if I ever find myself in a situation like that again, I’ll just turn around and walk out.