It seems to me our manners and common courtesy during this stressful pandemic pause have devolved to the level of frat house party.
After multiple postponements of our visit back to our old hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, we finally decided spur of the moment to go and see family and friends. I fear things may be closing back down again, and we hadn’t seen my dear mom-in-law since Thanksgiving.
The trip was very smooth, with the little exception of a near-miss decapitation from a flying piece of drywall slamming into our car windshield. But I digress.
We enjoyed watching the many ways people wear, don’t wear, or slightly wear masks at the airport and on the plane. I would estimate the breakdown to be 50% wearing masks correctly, 30% wearing them down below their noses, 10% on their chins, and 10% not wearing one and seemingly itching to be confronted by authorities. I know this look because I saw it at least daily with Son 1’s infamous authority-challenging scowl.
It was interesting to observe that the mask wars are the same throughout the country. In my small mountain town of Estes Park, Colorado, I have seen senior citizens almost get into fisticuffs, grocery store customers confront and push each other, and many calls of, “Hey, wear a mask!” and, “You can’t make me, it’s my constitutional right!” stuff. Would you ever have dreamed that wearing a mask would become one of the biggest political divides in our country? Turns out people are people, and we saw the same exact behavior in St. Louis as we see in Estes Park.
Yes, I am pro-mask. I wear one when I work, go inside places, and outside when I can’t be at a distance from people. I am not quite in the vulnerable age group, but I am at the very edge of the precipice. But I don’t wear a mask for me, I wear it to protect others and the society as a whole. I don’t yell at others to mask up, but I do try to avoid them and the places they frequent. I hear from anti-maskers that masks don’t work, and make mask wearers sick. Hmm. So they keep the bad stuff in, making the wearer sick, but also let the bad stuff out to infect others. Listen, I am not a scientist, but I know I would be less upset walking by someone who covered their mouth and nose with a handkerchief when they sneezed or coughed rather than having a spittle shower rain upon me. It’s only a very slight inconvenience, which if there is even a teeny-tiny possibility of saving a life or helping curb the pandemic, I will gladly do.
I know I will never change anyone else’s mind.
So now I will tell the story about the dumbest mask battle I have ever seen. And guess what? The perpetrator was on my side … Just goes to prove my point that the worst on both sides are not representative of the majority.
I have tried to be careful during this pandemic. I know many have taken up new hobbies during the shut-down, but my hobby was always going out to eat, so it was very tough! When things opened back up, I would eat outside at restaurants, but was not comfortable inside. I quit going to one of my favorite places as they did not enforce the mask rules.
St. Louis is a different animal than Estes Park. Whereas in the mountains you might consider bringing a sweater and wearing long pants while eating outside at night, summer in St. Louis you might briefly consider dining naked while pouring ice water all over yourself. So friends convinced us to eat inside a restaurant, as this one was taking great precautions, and it was 146 degrees outside.
Masked up, we were led to our table, which resembled a horse stall, with a back divider, and plexiglass partitions on each side. All employees also wore masks. We were at least six feet away from all other customers. We gently peeled our masks and enjoyed. Appetizers arrived, and the games began. A man behind us leapt up, leaned over our back wall and screamed at two people walking to the restroom without wearing masks. He was angry! He was loud! He was shouting (and spitting?) all over our food, and he WASN’T WEARING A MASK. Let’s recap … An enraged man, unmasked, was yelling at people to wear a mask, all while contaminating our food because he wasn’t wearing a mask. The mask violators were at least 25 feet away from his table, our food was about 2 feet away from his shouting. It reminds me of my favorite quote from Animal House: “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
Listen, I don’t believe in the Deep State, and George Soros plots. I don’t think Bill Gates or Dr. Fauci or the pharmaceutical giants are inventing a vaccine for the purpose of tracking us. Similar to my feelings about Alexa possibly spying on me, I think the survelliance would stop from sheer boredom. If you want to believe all these conspiracy theories, knock your socks off. I just wish it wouldn’t have to involve the validity of masks. For those on either side, courtesy and kindness go a long way towards easing societal discord. As for me, I’ll be the one masked up and crossing the street to avoid you, but I’ll give you a friendly wave.