August 14, 2020
I’m not talking about the COVID mask. And yet I am.
I was at the grocery store yesterday. A young woman was stationed in the entrance. Her sole job to make sure that everyone who entered was wearing a mask. Store policy. After grabbing and sanitizing a shopping cart, I went over to her. I told her that I deeply appreciated her and the job she is doing and thanked her. She started crying. “Thank you so much.”
Like so many, Dennis and I choose to stay home most of the time. Grocery shopping is just about the only opportunity for in-person human interaction. And I’ve found myself talking more to others these days in grocery stores, the other day offering my suggestion about canned tuna to a couple who were clearly new to the brands. More often just saying hello. And like the young woman, most seem surprised and grateful.
It seems these COVID protection masks have become a barrier to human interaction. At a time when our nation is at war with itself. At a time when we are seeing the fascist destruction of our fundamental and founding principles and institutions. At a time when anger and hate and fear have permeated our national narrative. There is so much that separates us. Our COVID masks do not need to be part of that. As we navigate these treacherous times, we need our humanity. As we continue to wear masks to protect ourselves and others from the virus, it’s time to take off the mask of separation.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org