I was a proponent of wearing face masks everywhere during the height of the pandemic. Today, I’m still on the side of donning one in crowded indoor spaces.
Here in Arizona, I have become recognizable because I’m one of the very few people who continues to wear a mask. I was in line at the grocery store and a stranger asked me if I had worked out that morning. He could see the quizzical look in my eyes above the bridge of the mask. He explained that he usually sees me at the gym but missed me this particular morning.
When I go to see plays at the theater, I buy tickets, when possible, for the one day when masks are required. If I go on days when masks are not required, I stand out as odd in wearing a mask. I feel some sense of the recognition of my right to wear a mask when the recording before the play begins: In addition to providing the usual information about exits and such, this recording now also includes a request that patrons respect those of us who choose to wear a mask.
The recent dueling research reports on whether masks are effective in protecting one from a swarm of viruses have given me pause about my decision to defiantly continue to wear a mask. In fact, the reports may be giving me an excuse to stop wearing a mask as often as I currently do.
Although I think that there ought to be a benefit in wearing a mask, I’m tired of wearing one. My equivocation about the mask makes me feel like a person who professes to be religious but only practices it when it’s convenient or out of desperation for an answered prayer. I’m faithful in wearing a mask in places like the gym where people are grunting and exhaling to the extreme. However, I’ve not been consistent in wearing a mask when I have visitors or go to someone else’s place. Until very recently, I wore a mask when enclosed in a car with another person, as well as upon entering restaurants and when the servers were at the table, only removing my mask to eat. I’ve finally given up on wearing a mask in restaurants.
My masks are supposed to be high-quality but they are not the recommended N95. They are KN95. When I read that one researcher said that if the mask is not N95 and worn correctly, you might as well not wear one at all. I’m questioning whether what I’ve been doing lately is an exercise in futility. Yet, I fear that if I abandon wearing a mask and then become infected, I might think that I “shoulda” kept wearing a mask.
I wonder what you are doing in regard to mask wearing. Are you wearing a mask religiously, judiciously, or not at all?