Thursday, May 18, 2023

The mask conundrum


In these relatively early days of the normalization of Covid, the issue of masks seems to be settling out. Looking about my library I work at, most people don't wear masks now, though a tiny minority still do. I take no great Internet-appropriate view of this situation. This means that I am not particularly outraged about any aspect of it. Wearing a mask is mainly a personal risk mitigation issue at this point. Wearing one properly will decrease your chances of contracting (and spreading) airborne diseases. Wearing a ventilator would be even better protection. I don't wear either, but I understand that it's all a matter of how much risk one is willing to expose themselves to. 

Nevertheless, there is one kind of mask wearer I regularly see at the library that is mystifying to me. 

Or let me put it another way: Of all the kinds of mask wearers during the pandemic; the face shield wearers, the pristine N-95ers, the bandana folks, the "free handouts only" surgical maskers, etc., the very last kind of people I would have guessed to be still at it in the masking game are what I call the chin maskers.

Chin maskers are the people who walk around with ill-fitting masks either not covering their nose, or dangling from their face like they just emerged from an exhausting bit of surgery, or who have simply let the mask end up strapped below their mouth like a chin guard. These are the people who, when talking to you (the most important time to wear a mask), would lower their mask out of the way so as to be heard clearly. And to my total surprise, it turns out that these very people, the people who use masks ineffectively, of all people, are the ones who continue to sport masks. 

At the height of mandatory pandemic masking, I thought these chin maskers were garden variety political lunatics, passive aggressively expressing their contempt for any law that would dare try to... stop... a... plague. 

But since they have not abandoned masks, long past when they freely could, clearly I was wrong.

It turns out they believe in masks more passionately than almost any of the rest of us.

However, it turns out, their belief is more religious than scientific.

1 comment:

  1. Very few masks here in New Hampshire, but some. Maybe hald the libraries I visit have signs that say some variation of "Masks not required but appreciated."
    Plexiglass, however, oh I think Plexiglass is here to stay.


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