Face(mask)ing Evolution

We did our first ‘lockdown’ Costco shop in early March. (we do a regular once-a-month bulk-goods shop there)

We were the only one’s in the entire place wearing masks, (and gloves – which we don’t use anymore, but use soapy cloths that are immediately washed, instead – soap breaks down the virus protein) including the staff. (there was one other bloke, however, who came in with a full gas-mask-and goggles-and-gloves combo) Those were the days when no-one knew, at least in our neck of the woods, how virulent or transmissible the virus was.

Every stare that turned our way varied between incredulous, scathing, pitying, etc. Most people studiously avoided making eye contact with the crazy plague-rumour-mongers.

To say that we felt uncomfortable was an understatement. Not only did we experience that initial ’emegherd I’m going to suffocate!!!’ sensation when wearing masks for the first time, we also were very aware of those ‘slings and arrows’ being cast our way from the other shoppers. All we knew was that we were both in the ‘at-risk’ category and weren’t going to take any chances.

Each month there were a few more mask-wearers. We’d nod politely to each other, making sure we were two meters apart at all times, while some other (unmasked) shoppers would make a point of passing by even closer than they normally would. (I mean, what kind of dipshit arsehole do you have to be to do that on purpose? – rhetorical question, I know)

‘Normal’Β  – there’s a word that’s never going to have the same meaning again.

Scientific evidence slowly revealed more of the nature of the beast.

The global infection rates climbed, as did the global death-toll. (over 16 million people are confirmed to have been infected world-wide as of midnight last night – PDT)

Almost every government on the planet dropped the ball, big time, and most, to their credit, eventually, picked it up again.

Last month about a third of all the shoppers in Costco were wearing masks. Everyone looked uncomfortable – the wearers of masks and the un-wearers of masks.

But, a change was in the air.

The long-term reality of this plague sinking in, I suspect.

I felt a knot of tension in my gut that reared its head every time I went into a shop or enclosed public space, unravel, just a little bit.

Yesterday’s shop was, interesting.

About half the shoppers wore masks. I didn’t spot anyone wearing it under their nose, or chin.

We mask-wearers have learned to ‘eye-read’.

We smiled at each other, a camaraderie of shared responsibility, not just for ourselves but for the unknown health-status of others.

It was a good feeling.

I looked into the eyes of those who weren’t wearing masks. As best I could anyway, because this time no-one was making eye-contact, at all. Their brows were furrowed in a sort of defiant desperation.

Peer pressure, whether internally or externally imposed, is a fearsome thing, particularly when someone’s not ready to engage with the knowledge that they’re going to have to change their sense of their Self … It’s not just the actual wearing of a mask, it’s all the reasons why they chose not to in the first place, and how loudly they touted those reasons, and who they touted them to.

Like just about everything that sets off our flight/fight/fright knee-jerk response, reality is nowhere as universe-ending as we imagine it to be. Who knows, we may all come to appreciate learning how to ‘eye-read’.


38 comments on “Face(mask)ing Evolution

  1. I can only imagine the sense of betrayal that accompanied DT’s first mask-wearing episodes.

    It accompanied seatbelt laws, and laws against smoking, and spitting in public, and countless other yahoo behaviors even farther back than the 1918 flu.

    If they weren’t causing the death of medical personnel who are trying to HELP them, and clogging hospitals so that vulnerable people infected by them are being refused treatment, I’d say let them and their friends and children and elders pay the price.

    If they weren’t causing the deaths of innocents, and people whose life has been hard enough already because they weren’t white, ditto.

    But, as usual, many of the people getting sick and dying do NOT deserve this.

    I cannot understand the mindset. My Mexican grandfather made sure we got the polio vaccine when it first came out. He was a chemist, and the family business in Mexico was researching native plants for their pharmacological properties.

    Science will save us – but not fast enough for everyone.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. And who could have dreamed all the adverts for colourful face coverings in an anti-Muslim world? Good post, Widders.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. quiall says:

    Another reality this pandemic is identifying is how many STUPID people are still around.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. It’s never enough to think that people are stupid to not wear face masks. The more important question is ‘why?’ Some of it is about suspicion about Muslims who insisted on face covering, some of it is about acknowledging that something really scary is happening outside our experience, some of it is about total loss of faith in what governments tell us, some of it is about rampant conspiracy theories about whether the virus even exists and, if it does, whether it’s to do with 5G and Bill Gates desire to control the world etc etc. Witch hunts were made of this, so be careful how you go.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Interesting point about the eye-reading skills. I think a genuine smile actually starts in the eyes before it reaches the mouth.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The anti-maskers are often antivaxxers — both categories are surely anti-social. We have these idiots too in the UK, including, sadly, one of my brothers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We started right off with masks and gloves too (and have dropped the gloves for ready hand sanitizer). My husband also wears his scuba mask. Lol. And like you, we’ve noticed the number of mask-wearers increasing. Now it’s mandated, so except for the few arseholes, everyone is masked up.

    I heard a great saying on television recently: “If you don’t like wearing a mask, you’re going to hate wearing a ventilator.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Widdershins says:

      Yeah, there are people who respond to doing something to help themselves rather than to help someone else, but if it gets them to wear a mask, I don’t really care how the message of couched. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Ellen Hawley says:

    Interesting. You think reality is breaking through into people’s minds?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Until I read your post, I didn’t realize I was doing the same thing, making more friendly eye contact with fellow mask wearers. Each time I’ve gone out, I’ve noticed more people wearing masks. I’m less tense about being in public, which may be why I think people are back to being friendly again.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. acflory says:

    For the first time ever, the supermarket delivery man was wearing a mask today. He was too far away to see his eyes but I yelled out ‘thank you’ from inside and he waved. Good enough. πŸ™‚

    The tide seems to have turned here too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Masks have been mandatory in Germany in stores for months now, and the vast majority of people abide by the rules. What I have seen recently, though, is a lot of people in the mall without masks, who only put them on once they enter a store. There seems to be a very strong wish for things to return to “normal” — but as you point out, who knows what that will be down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Sometimes it feels like we’re trying to find our way through an ever-expanding theater of the horrifically absurd, with slowly, oh-so-slowly increasing glimpses of sanity, to keep us putting one foot in front of the other.


  12. Reely Bernie says:

    You’re doing the right thing. I’m on the β€œbetter to be overly cautious and safe than sorry” side. I’m a choir director, and we’re already looking at: A. Outside class B. Masks all the time C. 6 feet D. Roster split in half. It still might not be enough as singing spreads more air molecules than speaking. Right now, for everyone’s safety and avoidance of lawsuits, I’m planning online. We find out in two weeks what the plan is…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. selizabryangmailcom says:

    I’m baffled by the refusal to wear the masks, though. Even if one is suspicious and not sure what’s going on…why take the chance? Even if one doesn’t believe it’s that contagious or they’re bloating the numbers of the sick (as if medical professionals would do that!), the virus is still real. Yeah, you may never get it. But do you really wanna make that bet? You’re really gonna put ALL your money on black? It’s just crazy denial. It’s a kind of insanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. inese says:

    Incredible. You could buy a mask back in March and people still haven’t learned to wear and appreciate them… I bought my first mask in the end of June (Ireland) when the numbers started to go down. Until then I could either buy them on Amazon or make myself, and the Media would give me twenty reasons why it is no good to wear a mask. So, when I had no mask, I did my best to stay away from people. Even the Neanderthal hunters and gatherers had a self preservation instinct.

    That arsehole behavior you mentioned seems to be a global pain in the arse.

    Liked by 1 person

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