Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Further Dilemmas in the Saga of the Mask

The Post Office sign recommends that I wear a mask inside.  I glanced through the glass door, saw the masked man on the other side, and slip my face covering on.  All the patrons were masked, as were the employees.

The tellers in the bank, and the associates in their offices, were all masked, as was I.  Their sign is pretty straightforward : Put Your Mask ON before you come into the lobby.

Knowing that they were required, I masked up after gathering my cart and myself together at Albertsons.  I bought a red bell pepper and two apples.  I was in the store for less than 5 minutes.  

Even before my vaccine that visit wouldn't have set off any alarm bells.  So I wondered what it would fell like to be mask-less in my grocery store, to be able to hear what others were saying, and to have them hear me.  

I have a loud voice.  It carries.  Until Pandemica no one ever asked me to speak louder.  Unmasked, I'd be able to watch the speakers' lips and I wouldn't have to speak up.  I could wear my hearing aids with impunity; putting on a mask is treacherous business when there are already devices stored behind the ears.  

Beyond that, it wouldn't have made a difference.  My mask is comfortable and I wasn't there long enough for it to become annoying.  But I was uncomfortable, nonetheless.  I'm not endangering anyone else by breathing free.  Dr. Fauci told me that the breakthrough outbreak on the NY Yankees proved it.  Thought they tested positive (part of their employment) none of them had symptoms.  This, Dr. Fauci told me last night, means that the vaccine is powerful and will protect me, and it will create a virus load so low that I will be unable to shed disease, even if I become infected.

So, why am I wearing a mask?  

To keep the employees safe?  Why, if they are vaccinated?  If they are not vaccinated let them wear a mask, both to stop the spread of the disease them may be carrying, but to protect themselves as well.  

I will make sure that any possibly unvaccinated, disease spreading, fellow shopper will not get within breathing distance of me and my cart, and I'll assume everyone else is in that category.  I'll keep myself safe, because that's my job.

Not wearing a mask would be inappropriate where it is required.  If I don't like it, I can shop someplace else, or use curbside pick up.  But when it's not required, there's an entirely different calculus.  

At Lowe's Garden Center today, I was blissfully unmasked and happily socially distant as I cruised the outdoor aisles, filling my cart with treats for Ms E's 5th graders.  Some patrons wore masks.  Most were smiling back at me from the parts of their faces that have been covered for so long.

Joe Biden was right.  Americans do like to smile at one another.  We should start doing it more often.... I hope.


  1. I still have a mask with me at all times but I am starting to feel more comfortable about meeting and greeting. Even pulled my mask down when picking up a prescription -- between the masks and the plexishield barrier we were failing to communicate until I did.

  2. I don't like wearing a mask, but figure if that's what it takes for store employees to feel comfortable it's not worth worrying about.


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