It’s almost December and it now looks like much of the province (as well as the country and the world, outside of places like Palau, Micronesia, Kiribati and Tuvalu) will be knee-deep in COVID for the foreseeable future.
The dreaded ‘second wave’ of the pandemic that experts predicted during the summer has seemingly come to fruition and now that it is here we will all have to collectively curtail our normally busy holiday season indoor social activities.
Instead of having our entire extended family over for turkey dinner and listening to drunk uncles argue about politics for two hours straight (not sure I’ll miss this, to be perfectly honest), this Christmas we’ll likely have to sit our duffs down on our now well-worn couches with our immediate family and watch even more Netflix and spend more time Zooming while we wait for those wonderful drug companies to develop and distribute vaccines to everyone and their dog in 2021.
Anyway, it all seems so depressing and it feels like yet another kick in the pants, but let’s not forget how utterly hopeless everything felt this past March and April when we had so many questions, not many answers and no real end date in site. At least that’s the perspective of my inner eternal optimist, who admittedly has been on the receiving ends of many beatings during these past nine months. But hope springs eternal and maybe just maybe by this time next year (crosses fingers) we won’t even remember what a Zoom is.
In any event, speaking of the pandemic, one of the major things that governments around the world have encouraged its citizens to do over the past many months to combat the spread of COVID-19 (along with washing hands and social distancing) is to wear masks while in indoor spaces. If we keep washing our hands, keep our distance from one another and wear our masks, we’ve been told we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which will help keep our small businesses open, afloat and thriving, which is undoubtedly good news for everyone in the community save for idiots and sadists.
Now I realize that for some here and beyond, mask wearing is a touchy and rather controversial issue, so I’m not really going to go into the nitty-gritty scientific reasons of why people should wear masks because: a) I’m not a scientist; b) I have nothing novel or new to tell you and am not likely to sway you one way or another.
(On a side note, one strictly anecdotal observation I have made over the past several months is that I have found that most epidemiologists – people who have advanced degrees and have spent their careers studying patterns of frequency and the causes and effects of diseases in human populations – seem to support the wearing of masks, while opposition to the wearing of masks has come – in part – from some of the dumbest guys I knew in Grade 9, guys who share the stupidest memes on Facebook, guys who literally made noises with their armpits while the science teacher valiantly tried to teach his lesson back in high school. So it’s been a real struggle for me recently in terms of who I should believe, who I should taking my advice from. But I digress.)
Anyhoo, being a total ‘sheeple’ of the highest order and an avid consumer of ‘blue pills’ (not Viagra, folks, but rather a Matrix reference), I have completely acquiesced to the ‘powers that be’, meekly obliging the demands of our overlords in the government by wearing a mask (bahhh) when I go shopping, fully conscious of the fact that it might be a nefarious attempt by deep state agents to prevent me from showing my oh-so-beautiful face to others.
After wearing a mask for several months, though, I have had an epiphany of sorts. I found that there are many non-scientific benefits of wearing a mask, even if you’re the kind of person who isn’t interested in that whole ‘protecting-the-weak-and-vulnerable-in-society-by-wearing-a-piece-of-cloth-over-your-mouth-and-nose-for-a-few-minutes-while-you-go-shopping’ type deal.
Here are some excellent *non-medical* reasons to wear a mask whenever you leave the house.
1) Helps cover things up: After becoming a veritable bloated walrus during the pandemic lockdown period, wailing away on the couch whilst eating entire bags of chips in a single sitting, I developed a collection of, how shall I put this, extra chins. But now when I leave my house and strap a mask on my face – ta da! – those chins magically disappear.
In addition to hiding my multiple chins, I am also able to eat things like buffalo chicken wings and then throw on a mask and go out in public without having to go through the laborious process of washing my face. How great is that? Answer: Very great.
2) Helps you avoid bumping into people you don’t want to talk to: When you see someone in the supermarket that you really, truly don’t want to talk to, all you have to do these days is simply wear your mask and maybe put on a pair of sunglasses and immediately you become unrecognizable. It’s as if everyone can become a chameleon instantly. I really can’t tell you just how wonderful and beneficial this discovery has been for introverts like me.
3) Masks have become a fashion accessory: Face masks have now become a piece of our daily get-up, like scarves or hats or socks or earmuffs, and the market has responded by offering a variety of masks for all occasions. You can get high end masks made with fancy fabric or you can go with a basic disposable mask. You can get specialized kids masks (my kids actually enjoy wearing their Spiderman/Pikachu/Superman masks), you can get novelty masks (I have the mouth of a cat mask) and sports fans can even wear their team’s facemask with pride in public. I’ve seen some incredibly creative masks ranging from Monet paintings to pictures of smiles. I suppose if you have to wear one of these things, you might as well have fun doing it.
4) Face masks can double as sleep blindfolds in a pinch if you have insomnia.
5) If you’ve always wanted to go out in public dressed up like a bank robber, a cowboy or superhero, your time is now. Enjoy.
6) You can also freely mouth the words of lyrics to songs playing in the grocery store without anyone noticing, which is kind of fun. In a similar vein you can also make faces while people are talking to you. Immature? Absolutely. Fun. Yes sirree!
At the end of the day, face masks will likely become one of the iconic symbols of this period in our history. I don’t particularly enjoy wearing a mask, but I suppose if you have to wear one, you might as well make the best of it and take advantage of their many benefits.