An Unexpected Side Effect
Well, here we are in month nine of our pandemic, and things are worse than ever! So that’s… something. This pandemic has completely changed our sense of normality in our day-to-day lives. Social distancing, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, working from home, it’s all just kind of become normal almost. Not quite normal, but not far from it. It’s still weird, but not as foreign and strange as it was in April. We’ll call it normal adjacent.
One of the things that bugged me at the beginning of the pandemic was people that didn’t wear masks inside stores/businesses/etc. At the time, there was no mandate in place so technically it was optional, but it still irked me. Now, here in November with over 230,000 dead, it really fucking pisses me off to see how many people don’t wear masks, despite all the signs that say it’s required. I could rant about this for like, ever, but this post is not about selfish fuckers who don’t wear a mask in public. This post is about how mask culture has changed how I, and I’m sure many people, view certain things.
For example, does this picture make you nervous or concerned?
How does this one make you feel?
Something about these seems off, right? Seeing all these people, standing so incredibly close, breathing all over each other? Doesn’t it feel weird to see not a single person wearing masks?! Of course, these were taken before the pandemic, and I know that, but it still makes me worried seeing all these people unmasked.
And this has been my problem with any movies I watch lately, too. Any show or movie where the characters go out and about into the world or are in huge crowds and not wearing masks, it throws me off! I’m like, “wait a second, where’s their masks?” even if it’s a movie from like, the eighties or something! It makes no sense, I know, but seeing crowds in any context now is so strange to me. I mean, did people always stand so close before? Did we really just let everyone breathe all over each other all the time? Was there ever a time before we had tape on the floor designating where to stand?
The “Before Times” seem so far away and yet so close at the same time. Like a dream you’ve just started to forget upon waking.
Today is another record-breaking day in terms of cases, and I imagine the trend will continue throughout the holiday season, because, well, it’s the holidays. Traveling, family gatherings, shopping for gifts, other activities that will probably make cases continue to rise. I’m sure even the mall Santas will be wearing masks with little reindeer or ornaments on them.
Please, be safe out there. Wear a mask, social distance, you’ve heard it a hundred times before. And have a great day.