Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sending a Signal

Demanding your rights without accepting responsibilities is not freedom.... it's adolescence.

I'm considering making a batch of t-shirts with that inscribed above a stronger admonition:
Wear a Damn Mask.\

I had to drop two boxes off inside the post office today.  Sister tells tales of  New Jersey's post offices filled with masked marauders; that was certainly not the scene at the Oro Valley post office today.  The sign on the door was clear - PLEASE maintain your distance.   PLEASE Ten (10) patrons inside at one time.

Signage is wonderful.  But it only goes so far.  The paper has no power of enforcement, and there was no one around to see to it that the patrons adhered to the  PLEASEs.  Only one other patron was wearing a mask, and she was using a walker and looked like a poster child for Vulnerable Individual.  She and I were surrounded by 15 or so unmasked patrons standing maybe 3 feet from one another in a line that didn't seem to be moving at all.

I took my disinfectant wipe and used it to push the buttons on the self-service machine and to pull the door handle as I went out to affix the postage and then went back in with my wipe to push the boxes through the giant slot.  All told, I don't think I was in there more than 2 or 3 minutes.

I left the guinea pigs to wallow in their petrie dish and went to the bread store, where, once again, social distancing and protective equipment were fantasies from the life that I, alone, seemed to be living.  Two families, each a dad and two latency age kids, were in the store.  The standing area of the store is about as big as my kitchen.  If you consider the counters on two sides and the display table in the middle, 6 people, with or without masks, is a social distancing nightmare.  And, of course, only I was wearing a mask.

I waited for the first family to leave before I went in.  I said No, thank you to the dad who thought that chivalry demanded that he hold the door for an old lady.  I wanted no part of brushing past him to pick up my ciabbata.  Wear a damn mask!

Having called ahead to place my order, I left the second family to their dithering (don't they know they are not supposed to browse?) and traded my dollars for the pre-sliced-and-waiting loaf the masked saleskid passed over the counter.  I was in there for 30 seconds at the most.

I don't understand the reluctance to wear a mask.  It's good hygiene.  It's thoughtful.  It's respectful. And, as a friend noted, it sends a signal that I am ready to reopen the world, the world which is very different now, the world which will require us to change some behaviors if we are to move forward together.  I'm wearing a mask and that says that it's time to recognize the necessities and to arm ourselves accordingly.

I'm wearing a mask.  I'm sending a signal.


  1. It is totally nuts. When my husband went to Oro Valley's Walmart, 90% had masks but it was early. I wonder if that explains it. Sounds like my zip code 85737 is about to get a rise in cases. Actually I am 85704 these days as the post office changed for reasons only they understand but I am closer to what was ours in area... Wear masks for other people and quit being selfish. A few people say they can't as it gives them panic attacks but that doesn't explain most. This appears to be political. He who shall not be named should worry that he's killing off his base

  2. I came across this after reading your blog. Wearing a mask should not be political!! but it said 20% of Arizonans didn't wear them. Do they think the sun will save them???

    1. reread this... only 20% of Arizonans do wear them...

  3. I went to the office for the first time since March 18th. I didn't want to go, but I did. I was the only person wearing a mask and all I could hear all day was coughing and sneezing. I can only hope it's allergies, but I cringed every time. I only left my cubicle to use the restroom. I have my own personal coffee maker and took my lunch and 4 bottles of water, so I don't have to use the communal water dispenser. I was nervous all day and couldn't wait to leave. I used to enjoy going to work. I have to go in again on Thursday and will shelter in my cube, do my job and get the hell out.

  4. Mask wearing is going well in all the places I visit, but there is a city mandate here that says masks are required, along with 6 feet apart, any time you are out of your home. So, there is that. Many stores here won't allow people in without a mask. I am thinking the mask-wearing may go on for years, or until we have a vaccine, whichever comes first.

  5. If more stores would require masks be worn to shop there then maybe I'd be willing to get out there and do my little part to help the economy. Maybe only 20 percent aren't wearing masks somewhere in Arizona but in Prescott it's more like 50/50 or worse. I've only been in 2 stores since 3/13 and out of about 15 people in Michael's last week, only the clerk and I were wearing masks.

  6. I wear a mask, and get my business done quickly, and then am descended upon by a dad and three free range children at the Subway sandwich shop, my only time to try take out food.
    I would be in favor of more opening up if people wouldn't act like, as I heard recently on the radio, "sailors just off the ship, on shore leave".

  7. Fry's in the afternoon is about 50/50, but that was last week. I think we have to go tomorrow, we're running out of perishables again. Why is wearing a mask such a big deal for people? I like the comparison to sailors on shore leave.

  8. Same crap here in Bloomington. I am restricting my errands mostly to early-morning senior shopping hours. And I want one of those t-shirts!!!

  9. I'm in Phoenix and have not been anywhere except to walk around the neighborhood since March 13th. We're doing no contact grocery pickups at Fry's and Sprouts, and Whole Food deliveries. AT the pickups we're seeing mostly unmasked people going in and out of the store. It makes me think it will be months - or longer- before I feel comfortable doing my own shopping. Sad, and depressing. I just hope most neighborhood restaurants continue their no contact pickup services.


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