Sunday, January 30, 2022

Mask/Off

 Today was the first time I've been out of my apartment and at a public place since the pandemic broke out. I had a meeting with the head of our development team. Our nonprofit's secretary, a gentleman in his 70's concerned about not getting others and himself sick, met me at my place and we walked together to the cafĂ© next door.   I was surprised to not see him masked, although he had a mask with him. Everybody in the area seemingly ditched them, so I forgot mine. But here we were, meeting a young man in his 20's and he's wearing a mask. My friend's instinct was to get himself masked up in response, as a courtesy. And as our guest was getting food, he went back to bring me mine. Mark etiquette is an interesting thing, because suddenly the role reversed. He brought his food over and was eating it in front of us, without a mask of course, but suddenly we were covered. It was a long meeting, so we were speaking a lot. The mask kept sliding off my face and I kept readjusting it. I did it although the data suggests that they don't work, and probably by constantly touching it with my gloved hand I populated it with germs but I did it to put my guest at ease. Walking back I couldn't wait to rip it off because the loops made my ears hurt. How do people do it every day. And I got to thinking how our mask behavior seems to have become a thing of good etiquette such as table manners, with everybody trying to figure out the proper procedures of what is appropriate,  when to mask on and when to mask off. It's a psychological and cultural phenomenon, and act of kindness if you will,  and health considerations have long left the building. 

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