This “mask wearers versus non-mask wearers” situation is divisive. Like, aggressively divisive. I don’t consider myself to be the least bit aggressive, but even me, a kitten by all accounts, has her claws out.
This pent up frustration is why I “went low” at the grocery store last week. I’m not beating myself up about it mind you. This issue has potential life or death implications. But not everyone sees it that way.
Full disclosure—I DO see it that way.
As the parent of a medically vulnerable child, I’m not screwing around. People who choose not to wear a mask or face shield in public piss me right off.
So yes, I acted in an uncharacteristically immature and passive aggressive manner. But seriously. Seriously.
The story… I was grocery shopping at Farm Boy, a local grocery store I frequent because it’s small, and their health and safety protocol makes me feel secure. Also, the staff all wear masks, unlike the unionized grocery stores. As well, I’ve found most of their patrons tend to mask up which makes me feel safer.
So when I shopped there last week, I was disappointed to see so many people shopping bare faced. I hid my annoyance, involuntarily, thanks to the mask.
But when a mother and her teenage daughter brushed past me in a narrow aisle, I snapped. But only on the inside, because of the kitten thing. Watching them flit around, all carefree like life was easy breezy exacerbated my annoyance. The mother called to her daughter who was further down the bread aisle… “Ashley! Grab some brioche buns. And, um… I feel like I’m forgetting something…”
Well, that was it. I couldn’t hold it in. I muttered, “Ya, your mask.” And then I booked it out of there without looking back.
My comment wasn’t very kind.
But know what else isn’t kind? Potentially exposing others to a virus that could kill one of their family members.
I understand there are those who can’t wear a mask due to respiratory issues.
If this is you, I empathize. It must be super stressful during this pandemic. Hopefully a friend or family member can grab your groceries for you when they’re out. Or try Click and Collect or delivery. But I get it, sometimes you just need to grab a quick item and you don’t want to impose on others, so you pop out to the store yourself. Without a mask. Because of the breathing issues.
But by now you must be aware that by doing so, you’re not only putting yourself at risk of contracting Covid 19, you’re putting others in danger as well.
So how about a face shield? They offer protection for you and for others—granted, not as much as a mask, but it’s better than nothing. Shields don’t press against your nose and face and they don’t impede your breathing.
We all have “the right” to do what we think is best. But wouldn’t it be nice if we did what was best for everyone, not just ourselves?
It’s highly unlikely that I’m caring the Coronavirus, but I wear the mask in public to protect others just in case. If we all did that, imagine how quickly we could go back to life as normal.
As for my child, she rarely goes out these days. No restaurants or playdates with friends in the park and no beloved shopping sprees. Wearing a mask is challenging for her. This is the case for many children who are neurologically divergent. Sensory issues make it that way. Many also have legitimate breathing issues.
When she does venture out, she wears a mask for as long as she can tolerate one. And then switches to her face shield. To those who claim shields are “stupid” because they don’t offer the wearer any protection, I beg to differ. It can be difficult to stop children, especially those with special needs, from touching their faces. Shields absolutely help with that. No germy fingers in eyes, noses and mouths means less risk of disease. Also, shields do indeed limit the droplet radius.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Societies have risen and fallen because of this concept. So let’s all tap into our inner empathy (it’s in there!!) and try to consider the whole, please?
Wear the mask or the shield or just stay home.
Here are a few face shield options for children who are Neurodivergent
Have any other suggestions or alternatives? Please add them to the comments!