To Mask or Not to Mask

Everyone is sick of wearing masks. Me, too. It’s become an extension of myself when I leave the safe cocoon of my home, my car, my office – though at work I wear my mask on a chain around my neck so I can pull it up fast if anyone comes in. When I’m out in public and see someone not wearing a mask or, heaven forbid wearing one on their chin, I find myself moving away and keeping extra distance.

Well, that got just got harder to do. As of today, thanks to our governor, Texas is wide open 100% – no limits on business capacity, and no mask mandates. Let’s open up restaurants, bars, businesses, arenas, stadiums, theaters, and pack ’em in, no masks required. Except … that’s not what the CDC says. So it leads us to a dilemma: to wear a mask as urged by the CDC, or don’t wear a mask and go back to business as usual pre-pandemic. There was a middle ground that the governor chose not to try: open up the businesses but still require masks, at least for another two months, so more people can be vaccinated. Many businesses ARE continuing to require masks but it’s unenforceable except for federal buildings, and it was very weird to be in a store with half of the people masked and the other half looking naked.

I’ve had both of my Moderna vaccine shots though I need another week before I’m considered fully covered. But with that vaccination, I know that I won’t die of Covid and probably wouldn’t be hospitalized if I catch it. I could still get sick and I could infect someone else – and that’s why I wear a mask. I do not want to risk infecting someone else, especially all those store clerks, wait staff, service workers, you know, the essential workers, who haven’t yet been able to get vaccinated.

According to the CDC, I know that I will soon be able to get together in small groups with other fully vaccinated people or with those not vaccinated but at low risks. But I’m not ready to rip off the mask and go to a party at the club, or to a crowded restaurant, or to see a movie. I feel naked when I don’t have it on and don’t know how to feel safe again without it. That’s going to be a harder adjustment than putting them on in the first place.

I’m not going to the mask burning party at the club, though. I still need it.