Masks Are In Season

At the beginning of April, the World Health Organization updated its stance regarding masks. While medical-grade masks should still be reserved for medical professionals, they also suggest that homemade face coverings could help minimize the spread of the virus. Ever since then, my wife and I have taken to covering our faces in public.

It’s…certainly an adjustment.

We started out with whatever bandanas we had lying around the house. It’s been a bit of a struggle to tie bandanas in such a way that they stay snug on my face. After a few minutes, they’re sliding down and I’m touching my face to adjust its position; defeating the purpose of protecting my face somewhat.

The bigger adjustment for me has been the social stigma surrounding the use of bandanas. In the “old days”, walking into a store with this style of bandana on was a clear sign that I was going to rob it. But in these times, a growing number of people are taking to the look just to protect themselves and others.

Not long after the World Health Organization updated their guidelines, Steff ordered us some face coverings from a local designer we see regularly at conventions. These don’t have any sort of medical-grade filtering, but they are thicker, more form fitting, and stylish to boot. My first one is a red and black lumberjack, though I don’t have quite the hat to match. We have at least one more set on the way, though I expect that we’ll be in the market for more.

I appreciate how this one first one fits around my face, though it’s taken me a bit to figure out how to tie it. My first attempt of tying the top row strings together caused the mask to fall down my face. Tying the left-hand sides and right-hand sides together so that they wrap around my ears has proven to be a better fit thus far.

Breathing is also more of an issue with this form-fitting mask. I can get by, but it can be uncomfortable when it feels like you’re breathing into a small bag for extended periods of time. Our most recent trip to Walmart ended up going for two hours after you factor in all of the time in lines. Not ideal to be wearing a mask that long.

None of this is ideal. To think that we’re in a time where looking like bandits has become socially-acceptable is still odd to me. But in light of where the world is right now, I plan on sticking with it. If it increases my chances of keeping myself and everyone around me safe, I’ll put up with whatever comfort or social stigmas that come with the mask. If anything, with the world likely to reopen in some form long before a vaccine is ready, masks may very well be the new normal. I know I’ll be wearing one in public until then.

For all of the frontline workers who have been wearing masks all day, thank you for everything you’re doing to keep us safe. My struggles with masks pale in comparison with what you’re going through. Will do my part to stay home as much as possible and adorn my mask when I absolutely have to go out.

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