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I had a very embarrassing experience the other day at the supermarket that involved bodily behavior that was out of my control – but it’s not what you think.

It all started after I was done at the gym. I worked out a little harder than usual, and as I was leaving to head to the grocery store, it hit me.

It was the worst coughing attack I have ever had. A nonstop, dry heave of a cough that would not let up. I continued to cough in my car from the gym all the way to the store with tears running down my face, and I tried to collect myself before going into the grocery store for fear of people staring.

I managed to go a few minutes without hacking up a lung, so I threw on my mask and headed inside. It wasn’t long before the coughing kicked up again.

That’s when the staring started.

It felt like all eyes were on me as I walked down each aisle, attempting to quietly cough into my mask.

But these days, the sound of a cough has people thinking only one thing: COVID-19.

Maybe I was paranoid, but I could feel the eyes staring me down. I could feel people backing their carts away from mine. I never knew how embarrassing a coughing fit could become until it happened to me.

Nowadays, people with allergies or the common cold need to be wary about going to public places because people don’t assume the best-case scenario anymore. People jump straight to the coronavirus.

I don’t think I’ll be returning to that grocery store any time soon.

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