Masks are a Joke, But No One is Laughing

So, yesterday I returned to my country of origin, the United States of America, from an undisclosed foreign country.  I choose not to disclose out of an abundant sense of self-preservation, given the intrusive nature of our present-day, less than gracious social media and mainstream media.  I want to go through the exact events of yesterday and a few days leading up to it.

I was away for several weeks and started my journey home several days before my departure.  Since a negative COVID test has to be presented before boarding a plane destined for the U.S., I had to learn the accepted methods for obtaining a test no more than three days prior to departure in a country where I do not speak the language.  And of course, I had to sweat it out as to whether my test would come back negative, given the high degree of false positives.  This meant that my plans were still up in the air until the evening before my scheduled flight.

The process turned out to be relatively painless, except for the price tag of $67.00.  The technician actually came to my apartment to obtain the specimen, and then hand-delivered the printed result the next day.  As my result was negative, I was finally able to confirm my travel plans and make any final arrangements for transfers for the next day. 

The next morning, I headed to the airport bright and early.  One positive development for international travel is that much of the information you used to have to fill out on the plane, can now be done in advance online.  I had all of my paperwork printed out or captured on my phone.  The experience at the foreign airport was painless and very efficient.  The pain began as soon as the plane was boarded.

As I approached the door to board the jet with several passengers ahead of me, my eyes met the fierce, darkly penciled eyebrows of a flight attendant overseeing the boarding.  Of course, I couldn't see the rest of her face due to her face mask.  For a fraction of a second, I thought she was going to give me a welcoming smile, but she yells over the people in front of me and points at my face, and says "Your mask, pull it up all the way, cover your nose completely!"  Apparently, unbeknownst to me, my mask was not sufficiently secured to my face, even though it felt okay to me.

I made sure not to let that happen again!  Next, throughout the flight, in two languages, we were berated and chided about the importance and necessity of thoroughly covering our faces, or risk being ejected and suffering the consequences.  We were told how to eat and drink while only momentarily lowering our masks.  Meanwhile, the rather large passenger in the seat next to me was invading into my seat space, even using my foot space, but as long as I have my face muzzled, when not eating or drinking, all is well in COVID world.  It is a complete joke, but no one is laughing.

I suspect every flight has a mask Nazi.  All the other attendants were much less confrontational, didn't seem to even care about the masks.  Thinking about the high-profile situations we have all heard about on flights recently where people get ejected over the mask issue, I imagine it is someone like our mask Nazi who is doing the dirty work.  I also imagine that this happens to people who risk being singled out by pushing back a little.  I can't say I blame them, none of it sits well with me either, but I didn't go through three days of preflight torture, not to mention all the time, money and effort it takes to get to and from a destination, to risk getting tossed off the plane over a mask.

When I got to the airport in New York, as I had all my paperwork in hand and had completed the New York State entry form online, the process was very efficient and painless.  However, I was disheartened to see all the mask wearing on the streets of New York because mask wearing was almost nonexistent in the country I had visited.  It was invigorating to be so free.  How ironic, considering I was in a third-world country.

Now contrast this with the flood of humanity coming across our southern border with no paperwork, no ID,  no test results, no quarantine, no tracing, no protections for unsuspecting communities across America, no nothing.  No consequences at all.


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