I had an interesting experience this weekend and I’m not sure how I feel about it. We went to a small, privately owned shop because I needed paint for a soap project. As I pulled in to the parking lot, I happily noted how full the parking lot was and how many people were milling about. I thought how wonderful it is to see this little shop doing so well. I then noticed that not a single person had on a mask. Initially, I thought it was because they were outside and didn’t feel it necessary to wear a mask outside. I donned my mask, put my hand sanitizer in my pocket, put a mask on my bean, gave her strict instructions to stay six feet away from everyone and not touch her face and we went inside. I was surprised to see that only two other people besides myself and the bean were wearing masks and no one was practicing social distancing. Jordan suffers a bit of anxiety when in public. If an area is busy with foot traffic, she feels a bit uncomfortable and nervous. She took my hand and said, “Mommy, what do we do, no one is wearing a mask?” I told her to just stay calm, keep her mask on, don’t touch her face and it will be okay. She tentatively left my side to look at the book section and I went about my business of getting what I needed to get for my project.
I must admit, I was a bit nervous myself in this situation and I wasn’t sure what I should do or how I should feel. I got a few odd looks; I’m assuming it was because I was wearing a mask. I showered, did my hair and make up and was wearing something other than faded yoga pants…not grounds for odd looks. My bean found several books she wanted to show me, so we went and looked, she made her choices and we checked out. When we were done, I overheard a couple talking about us wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. We were dubbed, “one of those people” and a comment was made in reference to a specific political party. I was taken aback and irritated.
It would make a much more interesting story if I told you I confronted said individuals, had a heated debate and educated them in their wrongs of passing judgment, making assumptions, and making presumptive comments loudly enough for others to hear. However, I simply said nothing. There was nothing to say. I ushered my little girl out the door, used hand sanitizer, put her in her seat, removed her mask and mine and went home. I’ve given this much thought and the conclusion I have come to is this, we are each in charge of our own story and how it will play out. I am choosing to be cautious about this virus thing, not for myself…although I really don’t want to get even mildly sick…I feel the same way about the flu. I have a little girl who has been diagnosed with moderate to severe asthma, a child which a cold is never just a cold…it’s always pneumonia. A child that has been hospitalized for respiratory infections brought on by the common cold. A child that if something were to happen to her would devastate me and destroy my world. So, yes, I will wear a mask and use hand sanitizer, and wash our hands, limit social interaction, and practice social distancing. I will do all those things because it is my choice. It is not because I am affiliated with a specific political party, or I am a believer in conspiracy theories or am a paranoid hypochondriac, or a mindless lamb following a flock. I am an educated adult who has a child with a history of respiratory issues, I love her, and her being ill frightens me.
To the couple who dubbed me as one of those people, I guess I am one of those people who is concerned for a loved one, is cautious for their safety and well-being, and will do whatever is necessary to help ensure that loved one’s safety. I refuse to view that as a bad thing because that’s my choice and this is my story. A cautionary tale; do not interject yourself or your opinions into someone else’s story. You may not like the ending. I certainly hope they don’t get sick or have a loved one who gets sick, words have a way of coming back and biting you where it isn’t fun to be bitten.
As always dear reader, stay safe, emphasis on staying smart, try to practice being a good human being, and wash your hands.