I never thought I’d be discussing masks as much as I do now. I don’t think I thought I’d ever be discussing masks. I remember seeing images of people in other countries where wearing masks is common for issues like high pollution or pollen count and thinking, “That’s another world. It’d be so bizarre to see that here.” And now, there it is. Sometimes it freaks me out how normal it’s become to me. I go to a pretty green park on a Saturday. The sun is shining. I hear the sound of kids laughing. Dogs are chasing Frisbees. Mothers are pushing babies in strollers. And everyone is wearing a mask as if we’re in a post-apocalyptic world. But we’re also texting and laughing and taking selfies like everything is normal. We are adjusting to the masks. I hope we don’t have to adjust too much aka I hope this isn’t a permanent thing. But, it’s here to stay long enough that we’re understanding we better get used to these masks. I’ll admit that I don’t think anybody really knows what the protocol is. Everybody thinks the way they do things is the right way. Always wear them. Only wear them indoors. Wear them inside of businesses, but not friends’ homes. Wear them when exercising. Don’t wear them when exercising. It’s all so confusing. And it leads to conflict. Here are mask fights we’ve all had.
Wearing a mask for a hike
Some people don’t feel the need to wear masks in outdoor spaces when there will be social distancing. And some think in any outdoor space, social distancing or not, a mask just isn’t needed. But what about hiking? It seems the same logic would apply. Or…not? I have friends who got into a dispute with another couple, feeling they should all wear masks in a situation where people would be huffing and puffing a lot.
Wearing one in a friend’s yard
If a friend invites you over to hang out in an outdoor environment, it’s hard to know what to expect. You can get there and find everybody is in masks. Or nobody is. Or everyone is sitting very close, but wearing masks. I have some friends who currently aren’t speaking because one couple showed up to another’s home without masks for a backyard hang and were asked to leave.
How could you forget your mask?
Many of our couple friends have these fights: they go somewhere, are asked to wear a mask, one of them forgot to pack one, and so they have to drive all the way home to get the mask. Or the night is just ruined. We live in a time where “mask” is one thing to add to the list of things you permanently pack, like your wallet or phone. But I’ll admit it’s an adjustment.
Put on your mask for the server
My husband got peeved with me the other night when we dined outdoors at a restaurant. We wore masks to enter, and to move around the restaurant, but not while seated at our distanced table. I didn’t put on my mask when our server approached to take our order. I just didn’t think of it. It was an accident. And my husband got so embarrassed, thinking our server will think we’re careless and don’t value her wellbeing.
I’m not going: the staff aren’t wearing masks
We went to one bar one evening that was taking a lot of precautions. All seating was outdoors and every other table had been removed. And almost all of the staff were wearing masks. Almost. One bartender wasn’t. And I really didn’t want to go there anymore. My husband said, “Just order your drink from a different bartender,” but for all I know, the unmasked one had touched and breathed on everything behind that bar.
An unmasked posted photo
You have to be very careful what you post on social media right now. When you post a photo, you open your mask protocol up to the critique of the public. So if you post a photo of you unmasked, sitting 20 feet away from others at a backyard hang, you could have figurative stones thrown at you online for not wearing a mask in that setting.
You went there without a mask?
You might be very critical of how the people you live with handle masks while they’re out of the house. If you find out that your spouse, for example, hadn’t worn a mask while at an outdoor exercise class, you might ban him from the home. Or ask him to sleep in another room for 14 days until you can confirm he doesn’t get sick.
If you’re uncomfortable, then go home
My partner and I have faced this one a couple of times. People will invite us to something. A barbecue. A beach hang. A wedding. And we’ll ask if people will be wearing masks. We are faced with this response: “I don’t know, but if you’re so worried about it, maybe you should stay home.” Or “No, but you can. Or you can just not come if it’s going to bother you.”
What, you think I’m infected?
I’m honestly shocked I still see this reaction at all. How do people behave like this? Have they been living under a rock? My partner and I eloped in Las Vegas. We wore masks. We kept our distance. But I saw several people in the casino where we stayed asked to wear masks and they lost their sh*t, saying, “What? You think I’m sick!? I’m not sick! How can you even imply that!” Um…being sick isn’t a personality flaw…But reacting like that is.
You’re a murderer
I don’t know how to feel about this, but I see it a lot. The accusations that those without masks on are murderers. Again, the situations vary. I’ll see someone yell it at someone hugging an elderly individual with no mask on. Okay. I can kind of get that. But I’ll also see people online calling airlines murderers for offering discount prices right now. It’s easy to be called a murderer very quickly in this environment.
You’re wearing your mask wrong
It is pretty frustrating when you see someone just covering their mouth or just covering their nose. I kind of want to yell at them too, to be honest. But I don’t know that yelling and chastising is really the answer. If they made the effort to get and put on the mask, they probably care, so a more gentle approach may be in order here.
Shut up; you can breathe just fine
Some claim that they cannot breathe when they wear the mask. They have asthma. They have a condition. Their doctor told them not to wear one. And then there are those who scream at them, tell them they’re liars, and can breathe just fine with a mask on. I don’t think anyone should be shopping mask-less. They should probably just order groceries if they can’t wear a mask. But I also wouldn’t presume to know how they feel when they wear their mask.
They’re good people; let it go
At this point, this has happened so many times that my husband and I just don’t argue about it. We’ve lost track of the score. But when this first all happened, we hung out with friends of mine who we didn’t wear masks when they should. And my husband judged them as people. But then, we hung out with friends of his who also weren’t responsible enough. So then my husband bit his tongue. But we had some fights at first about judging the others’ friends too harshly.
You stored it how?
I got so angry with my husband the other day for taking the mask I had neatly folded on my car seat, and putting it on the floor so he could sit in that seat. My shoes had been on that floor! Those shoes had been on ground that could have been infected! I made him do the grocery store run we were driving to, since I felt he’d destroyed my mask.
This mask price is ridiculous
The price gouging can be very upsetting sometimes. I have had friends making and selling masks, and I appreciate the hustle, but sometimes they’ll charge $30 for a cloth mask that cost them 50 cents to make and I just…I can’t stomach that.