Earlier today I went out shopping for basic needs such as food and mineral water. While I was going along a scarcely populated street, enjoying a little bit of fresh and chill air before going back inside for the rest of the day, I heard someone sneeze loudly behind me and I felt shivers down my spine. I think that I almost froze with fear for a fraction of a second, then I looked back and saw a woman walking about 10 metres behind me and wearing a mask, which was quite reassuring for me as I quickly regained my composure.
Nevertheless, I stepped up the pace because I didn’t want her to get past me. In spite of the reassuring distance and the protection she was having, the thought she might get closer and sneeze again right next to me did not make me feel comfortable at all. Eventually, I moved further away from her and then crossed the street, heading for the building where I live, so the danger was gone for good.
I had never thought that the sound of someone sneezing could me make me feel so anxious, but in the context of this horrible pandemic which has taken hold of our lives, it was probably not a surprising reaction from my brain to associate this act with a serious threat for my health. I suppose the woman wasn’t ill, she just sneezed as everyone does once in a while, and even if she got a little cold, she was responsible enough to wear a mask. Aș for the fear I felt even for a few instants, I guess it was a normal reaction. When we face a formidable and invisible enemy like COVID-19, a slight state of fear can remind us never to let our guard down. Fear is necessary and it can make a difference as long as it doesn’t turn into a panic!
Do you feel seriously worried when someone sneezes next to you?
Yes, I do, what if that person is seriously ill?
No, I don’t worry that much.