Today, August 11, 2021. I went to the gym this morning. I live in Israel. I do not have a green pass. Technically, I am not allowed in to the gym. As I walk there, I’m thinking what to do if police prevent me from going. Do I go in anyway or back out, jump the fence and work out?
It turned out not to be an issue. Nobody was at the front desk so I just walked in, did my work out, and left.
I walk home, and when I turn the corner to my street, I’m reading The Tower of Basel so I’m not looking up. I hear my wife scream my name and immediately my blood pressure shoots up. She’s unloading groceries with my two oldest daughters, 11 and 9.
Apparently, as I was working out at the gym, my wife was having a workout of the mind and soul at the supermarket.
“Rafi, they called the police on me!”
“What, is everything OK? Does this have a happy ending?”
I immediately want to know if this is a good or bad story. I have been constantly on edge for about 18 months now, and I am in no condition to handle any sort of suspense at all.
“Everything’s fine,” says my wife. I breathe a sigh of relief.
“So what happened?!”
A bit of background. My wife and I made a pact a while back. We would not put on masks anymore for any reason. Not to keep a job, not to placate the police, nothing. (The last time I put one on was for an interview to get a weapons license 3 months ago, and I had to annul vows for that.) Why are we so adamant? Because it is time to set an example, and so we are. Neither I nor my wife have ever gotten a ticket for not wearing a mask. I’ve been threatened, even booked and detained by police, but never ticketed.
She begins the story. She’s heading into the grocery store with our two oldest daughters. The guard stops her at the entrance and tells her she can’t come in without a mask. She says yes, she can, and that she does not have to wear a mask. She simply walks past the guard. The guard follows her inside and continues to harass her. She just continues shopping, with an asinine back-and-forth about what the “law is”.
“Show me your exemption,” says the guard.
“I don’t have to show you anything,” she insists. And keeps shopping. My daughters are witnessing all of this, also unmasked.
As this is going on, the manager of the store comes out and takes my wife’s side, which was nice. “If she says she doesn’t have to wear a mask, then she doesn’t have to wear a mask! Enough already!”
The guard slinks off. Meanwhile, random masked grocery shoppers continue to harass my wife in front of my kids. She ignores them all and keeps shopping.
Then, she gets to the self-checkout counter and starts scanning her stuff. She swipes her credit card, the machine says there’s a problem (what a coincidence) and to call a clerk to help. A clerk comes, and she says, “Sorry, this checkout isn’t working. You’ll have to start over. And the police are coming. You have to put on a mask.”
“No, I don’t,” says my wife.
Then the store intercom starts blaring. “The police are on their way. Everyone must make sure their mask covers both nose and mouth.”
My wife just stands there, with my daughters. She can’t leave, because payment hasn’t gone through. She suspects someone shut down the machine to pin her there as the police were coming. Plus, my oldest just happened to have a bee sting on her foot from the day before that was swelling up again and needed to be iced, but my wife did not want to use that excuse to leave, because it would look cowardly. It is time to stand up. So she just stood there calmly, unmasked.
Police arrive outside the supermarket, taking pictures. They do not come in.
Still waiting, she’s the only person unmasked in the entire store. The checkout machine comes back to life. A new screen pops up on for a manager to swipe a card again. My wife calls the manager over, she swipes the card. The machine now says to swipe the credit card again. She does. Receipt comes out this time, finished.
She’s now walking out of the store, my oldest’s foot in a lot of pain. She gets past the guard again, and she simply walks past three policemen standing there. As she passes them, the guard says, “That’s her that’s her!” to the cops. But my wife just keeps walking to the car, two daughters in tow. They help her load the car, and she drives off home.
That’s it. That’s the whole story. This is all one big bluff. Our enemies are empty shells. Evil is emptiness.
Show no fear. Stare the bastards down. Keep your calm. They’re nothing.
I would bet that nobody in my entire city has the sheer courage of my wife. I am blessed with the most amazing woman in the world.