Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Positive Songs For Negative Times #55: The Man Behind The Mask

Yesterday, I took Sam to the cinema in a large nearby shopping centre. It's not the closest cinema, but the tickets are half the price of any other cinema around here, and I'm guaranteed a decent coffee to take in with me.

It was strange being in such a large public place post-lockdown-easing. The last time we went there, everyone was wearing masks and most people were sticking to the one way system, but this time it was a matter of choice. I'd say 60-70% of the shoppers were still in masks, but the rest were going about unmasked. Their choice, the laws have changed. But that choice now makes every one of us pass judgement.

Sam and I were still wearing masks. I'm choosing to do so out of respect for others. Sam has never been bound by law to wear one, but I've always asked him to do so in shops, even though lots of kids his age don't, to underline the seriousness of the situation (I want him to remember it when he's older), as well as for his own safety and the safety of others. Young kids are more likely to be asymptomatic carriers who might innocently infect older, more vulnerable people. That's my reasoning, anyway.

Walking round that mall though, suddenly I couldn't help but look at everyone choosing not to wear a mask as uncaring, callous, blasé. But then I checked myself and wondered if they were all looking at me as a paranoid hypochondriac fool. I've had my two jabs, that should be evident from my age, and why the hell am I making my child wear a mask when so few other kids are doing? Am I victimizing him by doing so, stigmatizing him? Or am I just being smug, still wearing a mask to shine a light on me as some holier-than-thou do-gooder? Or is it a political symbol? By continuing to wear it, I'm showing my allegiance to anyone but the current, grossly-incompetent government... even though the infection numbers are now apparently dropping, and maybe, just maybe, their reckless gamble will actually pay off.  

Back to normal? It doesn't matter if we all toss our masks in the bin tomorrow. We're a long way from normal.


  1. "By continuing to wear it, I'm showing my allegiance to anyone but the current, grossly-incompetent government." Nails it for me.

  2. Nails it for me too. We're still masking - seems to me there are loads of good reasons to continue, and very few, if any, to stop.

  3. So true, Rol - right from the start of this I've been horribly aware of this whole judgement thing. Did I leave enough space for that passing person on the pavement? Did they expect me to cross the road? Or did they think I was being hyper-paranoid when I did indeed cross the road? I was sure someone laughed at me once when I stepped aside on the street and they were wearing a mask, but it was just the habit I was in during the early days of this, and I wasn't wearing one, so...? Ugh, it's horrible, and unhealthy, to feel so aware all the time of what others may - or may - not be thinking. Therefore maybe it's time for us all to just do what we do and stop overthinking it? Easier said than done. I think.... Aargh!


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