In the age of COVID-19 one thing has become abundantly apparent: You can tell a lot about a person by the covering or lack thereof on their face.
It seems the battle lines have been drawn and the public is divided into two types of people — those of us who wear face masks (because it’s the right thing to do to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus until a vaccine is found) and those who don’t know how or choose not to.
If you fall into the latter category, please stand at least 6 feet away from other people in public. Not only is it common courtesy and considerate, but it might also dissuade my mask-wearing friends and I from staring daggers at you or flashing the evil eye.
It is also not a good idea to wear a shirt with your name spelled across it if you choose to go maskless. That’s right, I am talking to you, P-A-U-L-A. I saw you in aisle five at Walgreen’s on the east side last Saturday inching closer to me. Yes, I hit you with the eyeroll. Fortunately, my mouth was covered so you didn't hear what I murmured under my breath.
Here’s a free tip for parents of young children: Train them to loudly ask these two questions in public, “Why isn’t that person wearing a mask?” and “Are we going to get sick?” A little guilt trip will never hurt anybody.
I will be the first to admit that wearing a face covering in the hot summer months gets stuffy and sweaty.
The other day as I was walking into the grocery store I witnessed an older woman coming out. She ripped off her mask, gave it a few choice words and shoved it into her purse. Probably the best analogy I can give is that the satisfaction of ripping off a face mask is akin to yanking off a bra at the end of a long day. The ladies understand.
Honestly, my ears have never been so accessorized. In addition to earrings, they are also needed to hold up my glasses and keep my face mask in place with just enough room to pop in a pair of EarPods.
Of course, there is one right way and many wrong ways to wear a face covering. When used correctly, face masks should cover both the nose and mouth. Think of the mask as a “coughy” filter. In other words, if you can smell your own bad breath then you’re wearing it properly.
And yet there is a subgroup of pseudo mask wearers who just don’t seem to understand how face masks work.
There are what I call the naked nosers, who cover just their mouths, leaving their noses exposed, and the neck protectors, who bunch the entire mask under their chins. Neither technique offers adequate protection. Quite frankly, it’s like saying you had safe sex because you wore a condom on your finger.
On the other end of the spectrum you have those who wear masks everywhere, even while driving. I'm not sure they are necessary in vehicles, but they must be scared of contracting the car-onavirus.
Chanda Veno is managing editor at The State Journal. She can be reached at email@example.com.