A Humble Ask About the Mask – Please, Mask Off

We’ve lived over a year now as a faceless society. Whether at the grocery store, in our workplaces, attending public events, and even (some) alone in our vehicles.

Here are my questions today for each of my fellow Americans:

  1. Do you think, at this point, that the majority of those still wearing masks are wearing them out of true, continued concern of contracting or transmitting the virus?
  2. I wonder if, for many of us, it’s purely habitual? It’s said that It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit, and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. Do you think this may possibly be the case for some regarding their masks?
  3. Are we still wearing masks simply out of respect or safety for others? And if we’re all trying to respect one another and keep each other safe, but none of us are actually concerned, then we’re really only respecting the virus. Am I right? With all due respect, at this point, that’s absurd.

I can say, for me, the only reason I still “mask up” from time to time is when certain businesses or government facilities require it for receiving service (which is ridiculous, and feels discriminating if I’m honest). All of a sudden, the old saying we’re used to, “no shirt, no shoes, no service” has added another qualifier. No shirt. No shoes. No mask. No service.

Would anyone else agree that it’s time for managers and staff of stores like Sprouts and Costco to stop harassing their customers for wanting to breath regular, old air?

Here’s something to reflect on. I remember the first time that it really stood out to me how uncomfortable it is when everyone’s faces are unidentifiable. I was standing in line to open an account at a local Credit Union when a white, unmarked cargo van pulled into the parking lot. I could just barely make out the driver’s tone of skin, and he was sitting, so it would have been pretty difficult to make an educated guess at his height. I assumed this was a man because of the shape of his body. Due to the pandemic, I suppose I shouldn’t have felt alarmed, however, in any other moment of history, this type of scenario (at a bank of all places) would have seemed suspicious to say the least. It was at that moment when I realized, these mask mandates are going to be a very strange thing to get used to.

Here we are, over 1 (one) year separated from the origination of Covid-19, and yet, so many are still going about their every day lives not even thinking about the strange reality that masks are not normal. They never were, and they shouldn’t be now. It’s like much of our society has just rolled over to play dead, and let this issue just be what it is. These masks have become like second nature, and people still just go along with it. Dare I say, I think they’re really just a security blanket for some? For others, I think it helps them feel powerful to have some “thing” to control or require of those around them. For some, it’s a virtue signal, even though if you ask them, they don’t believe masks make much of a difference.

It would be a miss if I failed to mention that some are just terrified of losing their jobs, or getting yelled at. I think of the sweet, little, old lady that helped check me out at the Grocery Store *cough – Sprouts* the other day. She was so timid and kind from behind her mask when she shared that she too doesn’t endorse the mask requirements. However, come to find out, her management uses their security cameras to spy and check on their workers. As she handed me one of the little, blue masks from behind the cash register, she timidly asked me if I’d be willing to wear it, even for 30 seconds, just so that she didn’t get scolded by her supervisors for allowing me to pay for my products and be on my merry way, without requiring me to wear a mask to pay.

I think it’s time for us to challenge ourselves, and one another, to take the masks off.

This is my humble ask. Please, remove the mask.

Now, I don’t have any personal, scientific evidence to prove this, but people are transmitting the virus with and without masks. I’ve personally known many individuals who have gotten sick despite following mask mandates and procedures to the tee.

In my opinion, the most proactive thing we can do to protect ourselves is to be fully aware of our surroundings. Distance ourselves from one another when possible, and primarily in public environments. Be conscious about personal hygiene, like washing our hands. Avoid coughing or sneezing towards one another. There are so many ways that we can practice safety, while still allowing ourselves the freedom to expose the faces of our society once again.

Think about how our children have had to where masks in school. These children spend hours on end breathing in their own breath. Do we not see that this is very unhealthy, and an absolutely unreasonable requirement?

Don’t you miss seeing actual people as you walk down the street, rather than a bunch of UWO’s (unidentifiable walking objects)?

Even psychologically, do you recognize the impact between a faceless, emotionless set of eyes, and a BIG, BRIGHT, FRIENDLY smile?

If you were to truly stop and ask yourself, “why am I still wearing a mask?”, and if you can’t come up with any good, medical reasoning, would you consider leaving your mask home? Stash it in the glove compartment, or center console of your vehicle. Allow yourself the freedom and confidence to go about your day, your errands, your job, and leave the mask behind. There are plenty of great Mask Return Stations (see below).

Unless you need to interact with someone who is sick, or who maybe has been sick, or if you work or need to visit a hospital or other high risk environment, it’s time for us to normalize. It’s time for us to lose the mask, and I truly believe we can do this in a way that is safe and responsible to those around us.

We’ve lived as a faceless society for far too long! There was a point in time where we all wanted to do our part to serve the greater good. Masks were a great temporary, action step that we took in initial response as we knew very little about the virus, or how it was spread, or when it might be safe to let down our guards a little. At this point, I would propose that we have enough information to handle ourselves responsibly.

Do yourself a favor, and inhale some fresh air. Do you neighbor a favor, and let them see your smile. Do us all a favor, set the mask aside, and help us get back to normal.