The Great Unmasking

“STOP SMILING AT ME, YOU RACIST!”

                Where does the time go?

                It seems like only a month since I wrote a post about masks.  Mostly because it’s been a month since I wrote a post about masks.  Since then, I have attended another wedding.  This one was for my nephew and was attended by up to one hundred guests in Long Island (New York still having crazy limits on indoor gatherings).

                Essentially….

                What’s more, I’ll be going to another wedding in Seattle at the end of August.  I plan on not dying there, as well.

                At the time I wrote my column last month, I expressed my opinion that the more people see other people with their features uncovered, the more they will gradually follow their lead and shed themselves of the idiotic face diaper.

                Just as it was a gradual covering of the face (reluctantly gradual for the likes of me), so it will be a gradual return to normal.  It’s human nature to watch the other guy stick his toe in the water before you follow suit.  Not me, mind you.  If a sign says “recommended,” that’s all I need.   

                As cases of COVID drop while the vaccination rate climbs, more and more folks have divested themselves of this modern-day Scarlet Letter. We’re actually able to smile at one another again, while at the same time having to resist the impulse to stick our tongues out at rude salesclerks.  Or, in my case, shave and use mouthwash.  To say nothing of not being able to disguise a cold sore anymore.

                There are some holdouts, to be sure.  A day never goes by that I don’t see someone sporting the mask.  Inside and among other people, I could maybe understand (but not agree with) their reluctance.  Despite CDC guidance, though, they continue to hold on to their badges of subservience, no doubt feeling superior that they are doing so.

“Some haters just refuse to follow the science.”

                There even remain those who insist on wearing  (sometimes double) masks when outside by themselves.  Or, heaven help us, driving alone in their cars.  More than a few of them have had vaccinations.  Which begs the question, why in the world did they even get the vaccine?

                I really am curious about what their end game is.  Will they ever feel safe?  Are they vainly holding out for the complete eradication of diseases (even those with a much higher mortality rate)?  Do they honestly think they will never die?  Seriously, I don’t get it.

                Still, if we are to insist this is all about personal freedoms, I suppose it’s also their freedom to look like jackasses.  As long as you don’t try to push your slavish devotion to the State on me, hey, you do you.  Plus, I’ll make a deal with you.  I promise to not snicker at you.  I’ll still think you’re a knucklehead, but I’ll keep that to myself.

                I will say, though, that I am loving this gradual return to normalcy.  It became second nature to throw a mask on whenever I walked into an establishment.  Even though I felt it was a ridiculous trampling of my rights, there was no way I was going to force a store’s employee to correct me.  They  had enough problems.

                Outside, though?  Especially away from crowds?  Yeah….NFW.

                Well, I’m happy to report that it has now become second nature for me to walk inside most businesses bare-faced.  Where once it had seemed odd to not wear a mask, now it seems odd to wear a mask.  I’m surprised that it was a relatively quick shift in my mind set, but I’m thrilled about it.

                Unfortunately, as a Multi-Venue Consumption Transportation Representative (for Uber Eats), I am required to wear a mask from start to finish regardless of vaccination status (once again, what was the point of the vaccine then?).  Technically, that means I’m supposed to have my face covered even when I’m alone with the food in my car.  Technically.

                Now, dropping meals off is one thing.  Most times, all I need to do is leave it at the front door.  Except when I’m delivering alcohol.  Then I have to check for sobriety and ensure that they are old enough to consume said booze.  No customer has ever worn a mask when I’ve done so.  I do, of course, because that’s what I’m required to do, but I don’t care if anyone else does so.  As long as they’re not hacking up a lung or licking my face, it makes no difference to me. 

                For other deliveries, many people want me to leave their food at the door because, incredibly, they’re skittish about personal interaction.  Yeah.  Whatever.  Although, to be honest, I think this has more to do with millennials not wanting to pause their video game or put on pants to answer the door.  Once again, whatever.

                It’s when it comes to actually picking the food up that I feel self-conscious that I’m masked while most (even staff) are not.  In fact, I feel kind of silly at times and wonder if the other customers consider me a sheep who is terrified of catching a virus with a 98% survival rate.  I want to hold up my hands and insist that I am supposed to wear a face covering, even though I think doing so is just so much political kabuki theater.

“Wait, did I read that right? 98%? Yer shittin’ me. Pussies.”

                In fact, I was at a restaurant last week which purports to be the international headquarters of yummy breakfast foods when an elderly gentleman gently reminded me that masks were not required for those who have been vaccinated.  I smiled (although he couldn’t see it) and told him that I was aware of that.  However, my job requires that I still do so.  And there was no way I was going to run the risk of some Karen (they’re still out there) snapping my picture to send to Uber along with a nasty note that I want to kill Grandma like a New York governor.

                Another instance this week occurred after I made a delivery at an oceanfront  hotel room.  Since I was “on the clock,” so to speak,  I had my mask on.  And, since the drop-off point was on the eleventh floor, yeah, I’m taking that elevator.

                After I stepped inside and the doors started to close, they were stopped by one of the ladies from housekeeping.  She took one look at my mask and, apparently feeling I was a nut who was scared of his shadow, stuttered that she would take the next car.

                Scoffing, I waved her in and explained that I didn’t believe in that nonsense.  But, as a food delivery worker, I had to continue to play the game.  I insisted that she join me for a pleasant sojourn to the lobby.

                Once I stepped into the oven of a late June sun, though, I whipped that mask off as if it were burning me.

                I hoped no one noticed I hadn’t shaved that morning.

UPDATE:  The loons from the World Health Organization have consulted their Magic 8 Balls and issued dire warnings about the spread of the Delta Variant of COVID-19.  They recommend that people continue to wear masks, especially indoors, regardless of vaccination status.  Well, giddy up, here we go.  Will Delta end up placing us back on Double Secret Probation? 

I hope I’m wrong.

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