I had to think up a better title than what I actually call those people…you know the type or maybe you are one yourself.
They are the ones who yell at you from across the gas station 2 rows and 3 pumps back to put on your mask when you are the only two at the gas station pumping gas and they are so far away from you that they need to yell several times until you finally hear what they are saying. Seriously people? If you are so far away you need to YELL to tell me to put on a mask I am also too far away from you for you to catch covid from me.
It’s the person who is walking on the other side of the street yelling to you to put on your mask when there is no one else around.
Then there is the reason why I am writing this post… it’s the person who walks 2 hallways over when you drop some stuff on the floor making a clattering noise when you are in your office alone only to then lecture you about wearing a mask because you could be a super spreader. Really? You are 12 feet away from me now and you are working 2 hallways over. I’m in my office ALONE drinking a protein shake before I start work. So how exactly does this impact you? If I didn’t drop stuff on the floor in our empty department you never would have known I was here and never come to see what happened and never known I was not wearing a mask because you work 2 hallways down and I’m in my office alone.
The mask police really bother me.
The mask shaming and bullying really bother me.
If you are so far away that you have to yell for someone to put on a mask then you are far enough away that it does not matter.
Masks are for when social distancing is not an option. If you are distanced then masking is not needed. If you are alone then masking is not needed. After all who are you going to spread covid to?
Now I’m not saying that I refuse to wear a mask entirely. There is absolutely a need for them in certain situations. I wear a mask when I’m entering establishments that require it. I wear masks at work. I even wear a mask at home while my sons therapist is there working with him. But I’m NOT wearing a mask while exercising. My poor asthmatic lungs are already struggling. I have a mask with me just incase I’m on a trail walking or hiking and someone is approaching me I’ll pop the mask on as they pass but once they are a distance away the mask comes right back off.
Some masking situations just don’t make sense. The biggest one is eating out. So you need to wear a mask while walking to and from your table but once you are seated you can remove your mask. This is what I call the “magical butt barrier”. You stand up mask needs to be on but sitting you are ok.
Mask nazis (mask police, mask monitors) all like to point out that they wear masks all the time in Asia and no one there complains. (I have never actually heard this argument from anyone who has actually BEEN to Asia.) Well, I have been to Asia. Yes they wear masks in the large cities because the pollution is so bad. The air actually feels dirty and makes my eyes and skin feel dry and itchy. It reminds me of when we have the huge fires here in CA and the air is toxic. They wear the masks outdoors, not indoors and not everyone has one on. Women wear them more than men and young people were them more than older people. It is not mandatory. There is no shaming or lecturing people who do not have them on. It’s a personal choice.
I have had several problems with different masks through this pandemic since I wear them all day while I’m seeing patients at work. We had some masks with stiff elastic that cut the skin on the backs of our ears leaving us to need to put bandaids on our ears to wear them. I had an allergic reaction to something (my guess is the dye) in another brand of mask and broke out in hives all over my face under the mask. They were painful and itchy and took a week to finally go away. We had other masks that had thick trim and the constant rubbing as we spoke made raw sores on my cheeks leading to more band aids to cover up the open wounds on my face.
If an establishment has a mask rule and you do not want to wear one don’t go to that establishment. It’s simple. There is no need to argue and make a scene.
If you are out and about and see someone without a mask on it is NOT your place to yell at them, demand they mask up or lecture them about wearing a mask. You are not their parent. You don’t own them. You probably don’t even know them. You don’t know their story. Maybe they have a medical problem and can’t wear a mask. Maybe the backs of their ears are cut open or their face is raw. Maybe they have asthma or allergies and are already wheezing trying to exercise. Hell, maybe it broke, got dirty or they dropped it somewhere and can’t find it. Maybe they gave it to someone else who needed it more than they did. But the bottom line is if YOU are uncomfortable with it that is YOUR problem and you can always distance yourself from them if you are uncomfortable.
Mask or not we can all use a little more kindness and love in the world. If you don’t have anything nice to say then just don’t say anything at all. Stop the lectures. Stop the shaming. Stop the bullying. Try to spread a little kindness and love. We can all use more of that.