Needless to say, in the past year masks have been at the top of shopping lists thanks to Xi Jinping, the president for life of China. Suddenly wearing a mask isn’t the domain of bank robbers, trick-or-treaters and partying adults. And who would have thought that Batman and the Lone Ranger would be trend-setters?
Fascinating, is it not, to see how a plain white mask has evolved in just a few months?
Masks from early spring that simply slipped around the ears can now be found in various fabrics, colors and designs. No longer content with mere utility, you can now observe people wearing masks with memes, strange graphics and even political messages.
I’ve succumbed as well, possessing a mask displaying colorful dog bones and another with pics of RVs, vans, cars and mountains.
One of my grandsons has a camo mask to match his plastic rifle.
Joining pens, coolie cups and other things that carry brand names of companies or causes, masks have become the domain of entrepreneurs selling images as obscure as elephants to Republicans and donkeys to Democrats. You can now get personal images on masks such as your poodle or grandchildren. The world has gone apoplectic over masks.
I used to people watch for the amusement of seeing their attire and facial expressions. Now I people watch to see what kinds of outrageous masks are out there. Cases in point: A man with a complete head helmet and facial shield reminiscent of Neil Armstrong’s moon walk; a full-figured lady with the picture of a whale on her mask; and how often do you see airheads wearing their masks with the nose or mouth exposed. You can’t fix stupid.
Strapless masks that pull completely over the head are a hassle and overkill. Bad enough to cover part of my head, but to walk around looking like a giant sock borders on the ridiculous.
Some folks let their mask dangle from one ear so it can be quickly attached to the other ear when someone within a square mile so much as sniffles. I once merely cleared my throat at Publix and everyone in the vicinity scattered like sprayed roaches. A benign cough typically ignored in 2019 is tantamount to a nuclear attack in 2020, the offender the subject of glaring eyes squinting above masks. What’s next – cough shelters built like wartime bomb shelters?
Another mask malady is that the damn things don’t stay in place. I’m constantly pulling it down when the top portion rises and starts blinding my eyes. And when an ear loop breaks, I don’t know whether to go back to the car for a replacement or walk around holding the loose string in place and looking like an idiot.
Some actions should be taboo. For example, I’m uncomfortable looking at someone wearing sunglasses indoors with a mask, negating any facial recognition. I fear it’s someone hiding from the cops or a thief casing the place.
Speaking of glasses, they fog up seconds after placement of a mask. As a longtime diver, just use this little trick: dip the lenses in liquid detergent, dip again briefly in a bowl of water so just a thin film exists, and your glasses will stand up to an hour or so of heavy mask breathing.
Yes, President Xi has fostered the world’s new habit of wearing a mask in public. It’s truly a PITA, but better to fall on the side of being too safe than to take a “what the hell” attitude and throw caution to the wind. Until a vaccine comes to the rescue – which will be soon – we’re just gonna have to grin and bear it even if no one can see us grinning.