Okay, I know I shouldn’t take mask wearing lightly, but the other day I was in a bank where every one of us was wearing a mask. Honestly, how strange can our world get? (Don’t ask, we might find out.)
To be honest, I was a reluctant mask convert. I held out until the message about masks and my role in COVID prevention were somewhat clear, and then, I set to work creating my own. I was operating under the false assumption that if I made my own masks out of scraps from my favourite fabrics, somehow wearing the end product would feel more natural. (I was wrong.)
With my first set of masks complete, I started out just carrying one in my backpack (you know, “just in case”). Next, I progressed to the stylish “on the wrist” look you see in outdoor locations where shoppers have exited stores and are glad to be able to breathe fresh air again. I toyed with the “mask-hooked-on-my-ears but otherwise, not-covering-my face look” (John Tory style), and quickly realized how ridiculous that looked. Then I went full “mask on” in a Fabricland, where all the masks were works of sewing genius. Amongst my fellow seamstress types, I became part of show and tell rather than mask and protect.
There’s a few things I expect we’ve all discovered about masks. If a mask is too tight, it pulls on your ears, turning some individuals into a masked Yoda. I have small ears, not an advantage in mask fashion. If the elastic slips off one ear, the mask can instantly turn into an infectious slingshot. It only happened once, but there’s nothing like the mask etiquette dilemma involved when deciding whether or not to retrieve one’s mask from the sweet potatoes and casually re-assemble, or shoving it into your pocked and quickly exciting the store.
Once I passed the 6-mask wearing occasions, masking did start to feel almost normal. But I use the term normal loosely. Like all COVID accommodations, it tends to suck the fun out of a previously enjoyed activity—I’m thinking in particularly about shopping. Masks in addition to no browsing, touching, sampling, or conversing in any meaningful way all reinforce the general message that this is no longer a recreational activity. Your purpose is to forage (quickly and efficiently); go in for the purchase and leave.
By all rational accounts, mask wearing reduces the chances that the virus spreads. This conclusion is perfectly logical to me. And thank goodness, in Canada, wearing a mask is not related to any political statement. We may get to the point where there’s some kind of “sens de la mode” in donning a mask, but I doubt it. Beautiful scarves around our necks, heads and shoulders, are fashion statements. Masks attached with elastic bands? no.
I can only wish that years from now, my sad little collection of masks will fall out of a draw one day and I’ll have to explain to my grandchildren what they were used for – in a place and a time far, far away from where we are now.
At least, let’s hope so!