Throughout this pandemic, I have been frustrated by the politicization of the public health issues associated with masking. I have cried out when seeing masks used as chin warmers or shuddering when people take off their masks to talk to others. Don’t they get it? My ideal imaginary mask monitoring job may soon be gone! Oh, what a hopeful thought.
My job: mask monitor
My nursing and infection control trainings are front and center each time I watch TV, go to the store, or out in public. What’s so hard about mask-wearing? Cover your nose and mouth to minimize spreading droplets. Protect yourself and others. My desire to contain the spread and help us return to some “normalcy” is overwhelming. Considering the valued guidance of my hero Dr. Fauci, and the CDC, nothing should be simpler. My ideal imaginary mask monitoring job has sustained me through the pandemic.
My friends and family eagerly wait to hear about my encounters with a mask-wearing “flunky.” My report, a bit of dark humor, includes the name and type of the establishment that is relaxed in enforcing or addressing the mask mandate, the description of “mask offender” and the associated observed “infraction” (an exposed nose or a mask used as a chin warmer?) Occasionally, I will admit that I mentioned to some offenders that their mask appeared to have slipped, to others, I readjusted my mask while facing them in hopes that they would get the message, and sadly on other occasions, I expressed my frustrations to my husband. His response: “the only way you will fix that situation is with the application of duct tape.”
Masks on TV
Watching medical shows and sports coaches on TV has been another source feeding my secret mask monitoring role. Scenes of the “ER” where staff are treating patients during the pandemic without a mask, or the sports coach taking off the mask to speak to players, watching some players on the sidelines with masks while others are barefaced, sends my blood pressure soaring and those around me are preparing for my rant.
Toilet training is easier than mask training
For those who have had the joy of toilet training a toddler, there are several approaches. You work with the toddler on modeling the desired behavior or resorting to bribing and rewarding for the appropriate toileting behavior. Yes, I was reminded that no child went to college wearing diapers, that finally, the child figures it out, typically in a few months. Dog trainers also note that it takes under a year to turn the cute little puppy into an adorable command responding dog. So, what’s so hard about learning to correctly wear a mask in public that covers both the nose and mouth? If you were able to get a driver’s license or have the intelligence to vote, what is the difficulty with learning to correctly wear a mask?
My ideal imaginary mask monitoring job may soon be gone!
I am overjoyed that vaccines are now more readily available and that I served as a volunteer vaccinator. More people are getting vaccinated and herd immunity is within reach. I am losing my ideal dream job to an app! Software companies already have AI to detect non-masked individuals (LeewayHertz, AVIGILON). Help make my job obsolete! Keep those masks on for just a bit longer! Remind others to do the same. Collectively, we can make a difference. Take care of each other and let’s not give up while we are approaching the home stretch.
- Wear your mask!
- Get vaccinated and help someone else with making an appointment or getting to the vaccination site
- Consciously express gratitude when getting vaccinated
- Make a donation to a foodbank or other charity in honor of getting vaccinated