I'm going to miss my mask
Our bluey state has somewhat gone to following current CDC mask guidance. I walked into the feed store yesterday and noted that their "MASKS REQUIRED" sign was gone. (I had my mask looped around my wrist, just in case.) Every helper and customer I saw, though, was masked. Inquired and was told it was okay to be without my mask if I was fully vaccinated.
That explained it. We're in a relatively under-vaccinated area. I figure it applies to me, too, as nature has vaccinated me. I caught COVID in April of 2020. Relatively mild symptoms that lasted a couple of weeks. The doctor's office said not to come in, but to go to the hospital if I felt as if I needed to. That consultation was certainly worth the no-charge cost.
Someone coughed on me at a grocery store in late March, so I figured that must be how I was exposed. I am bedeviled by irksome post-viral symptoms going on for more than a year now. And that doesn't even include the disaster our governors, mayors, school boards, corporations, and forked-tongue health experts have brought down upon our heads. I sure wish we'd had a mask to prevent all that.
But if I don't wear my mask around here, will folks think I succumbed to the social pressure to be vaccinated? Or believed the codswallop propaganda regarding a biomedical process that skipped the long-term testing phase? Don't want anyone thinking I'm a pro-regressive! But then, they seem to be children, clinging to their masks like Linus to his security blanket.
Haven't enjoyed being masked up, as it makes me feel claustrophobic. Luckily, I am retired, so it's been needed only as I dash into one store or another for something and, lately, while walking past the hostess desk at restaurants. Pity those who have had to wear them all day long.
Nevertheless, the extra personal space gained in some settings has been refreshing. I don't think anyone has bumped into me, anywhere, for more than a year. I sure don't want to lose that. Maybe if I wear my mask just in certain settings, like Walmart, or waiting in line at the grocery store, I can retain that fingertip-to-outspread-fingertip space.
My mask acts as a filter for more than mucus-enrobed viral particles. It also lessens the olfactory impact of the garlic-lovers, the smokers, the tokers, and the unwashed in my vicinity.
The face art has been really enjoyable. Without cuttings, piercings, tattoos, or expensive make-up, we've all exhibited a variety of styles and colors. And the mask works perfectly as a small billboard. I love reading those worn by others; some have been truly snarkilicous. And with them over the mouth, there's no jacket blocking part of the message. My personal favorite is a neck gaiter with "I Miss America" written in Gadsden yellow on black. Anyone who's read 299 Days by Glen Tate will understand.
I have a Duchenne smile, so greeting folks while masked up has not been affected. However, hiding while indulging in the pursed lips of disgust and the twisted lips of askance was a boon.
Being able to eat cheesy puffs in the car and pop into a shop without a worry has been very nice. Masks cover a multitude of sins. Now I will have to go back to checking my face in the mirror every time I get out of the car to make sure nothing is stuck in my teeth.
I'm one for going gray when among those I do not know and in public. Live to fight another day and all that, I suppose. Being one of a couple of hundred million Unabomber look-alikes did have its unifying aspect. However, if I ever find myself needing to blend in with the pro-regressives, I will have a mask in the glove box and a face shield tucked in the center console, just in case.
Anony Mee is a retired public servant.
Image: Masks image by rawpixel.com.