Masking manners

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face mask

This is our first pandemic. We are doing our best but, frankly, we didn’t know quite what to expect.

My family has been out in the world for most of the pandemic, so we didn’t really get the quarantine everyone did. I mean, I was working from home before working from home was a patriotic duty. I just really didn’t want to have to wear pants.

Mr. Wonderful, GirlWonder and BoyWonder all continued to go out in the workday world throughout the #stayhome order. This was back in peak pandemic when officials told us that wearing masks was a bad idea.

Now it is May 275th, give or take, and we are told that masks are now a good idea — sometimes by the same officials who told us just a month ago they were not. So this is all very scientific and not at all confusing.

Opinions

This, of course, means that people have a variety of opinions, as humans are prone to having. Worse, a large swath of humans believes that their opinion is the only truth among us.

I have long held that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion — but not, however, their own “facts.” Of course, today’s dearth of scientific education of the masses, often suspect media sources and a general sense that if you just Google long enough you will find a few “studies” to support what you want to believe make it rough to make any headway in educating oneself and others.

Varying sources notwithstanding, there are those among us who are certain that the rest of us are handling the pandemic all “wrong.”

For most of us, this is our first pandemic, and we just aren’t quite sure of the etiquette yet. In our state, masks, for example, are voluntary. There seem to be an awful lot of folks that don’t agree with that. They plan to impose their will to wear them on everyone, no matter what the governor says.

If you disagree with what someone has to say to you when they express their opinion, you have a variety of nonviolent comebacks at your disposal.

I have a mask. Mine is blue and I think it nicely highlights my eyes. I also like that it kind of covers the laugh lines around the mouth. I think if they make one for the forehead too, I might be interested. I use it as needed.

Nonetheless, I have said since day one that I am not a member of the pious pandemic police. The rules of engagement seem to change daily.

Frankly, I do not have the attention span for it. Masks are good? Masks are bad? All I know is I touch my face so often that I could really use a cone.

Bless

If someone has an opinion about your mask, your lack of mask and so on, I find the best response is no response and maybe a smile.

The mask, however, makes it hard to see that. Smiling with your eyes can sometimes be mistaken as crazy eyes. So it’s best to have a couple come-backs of the “bless your heart” variety.

Everyone knows that “Bless your heart” can blast more than bless. If you aren’t feeling that tried and true, I find that “I’m sorry you feel that way” can answer almost any complaint with emotions ranging from sincerity to passive aggression.

You don’t like my mask? “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

You think everyone else should wear a mask and are big mad that they aren’t? “I am sorry you feel that way.”

Just keep repeating that until you get back to the safety of home. All we can do is remember that most people really are doing their best. What that looks like varies by individual.

You cannot always control other people but you can — and should — control yourself. So remember to eat right, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, wash your hands often, and bless others with the benefit of the doubt more than you bless their hearts — if you can.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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