Rarely Seen in These Parts

The other day I donned my face mask, as I do, and walked into a grocery store. A small child pulled at her mothers skirt and pointed at me. The mother embarrassedly tried not to make eye contact as she unsuccessfully tried to shush the child. “But mommy, you said they don’t live this far north!”

Of course, I didn’t actually hear what the child said, but it kind ‘a felt like she could have said that.

I think I have an inkling how Big Foot must feel. I am a rare Masked Leftie in a world of Right-wingers and Conspiracy Theorists (sometimes referred to as ‘anti-maskers’ these days.)

I’m probably extra sensitive in the weeks since my husband and I got home from an 8-day trip that took us to Vancouver and ended with a quick run through the Okanagan to see the boys. We would not have chosen to go into the two most infected areas of the province right now, but Randy had to have a heart procedure at St. Paul’s Hospital (which took a little longer than expected and kept us there an extra day, but it appears to have been very successful and his heart is beating in perfect rhythm once again. So, yay!)

But it was interesting being back in the city. We ate on café patios, watching life go by on the street. It’s quieter than normal, for sure, but still a lot busier than in a small northern town where they roll up the streets at 5pm and don’t unroll them at all on Sundays (and that has nothing to do with the virus!) I counted and found that even on the street, mask wearing was easily at 50% (in the city, not here.) A few people pull off their masks the minute they step out of a shop or off the bus, but most just walk down the street with mask on, un-self-conscious.

People in masks make me feel safer, because I trust that they are taking this as seriously as I do. We’re wearing masks, keeping a safe distance from strangers and still going about our business. I felt welcome because no one was pulling out their cell phone to snap a picture of the freak in a mask (that has not actually happened to me, but you know, I like to add a little drama to keep your attention.)

(The fox was a late birthday gift for my step-son. We added the mask and hand sanitizer and made quite an impression at campsites!)

It took me a few days, but I started chatting with strangers again, I started feeling like myself, feeling like it’s ok to be myself. Sigh. Coming back was a slow-growing shock, the yeti-sighting incident being just the tip of the iceberg.

Yesterday we went to buy a second hand love seat and were pleasantly surprised that the young couple selling said love seat were wearing masks, and they requested us to wear masks in their home, too. We would have anyway, but, Yes!!

I think there must be more of us up here. Perhaps they’re all hiding behind trees with their masks in their pockets, afraid of being the object of the next mythical creature sighting. I get it, it can get exhausting. Sometimes I just long to be back in the rainforest. With my kind.

Sigh.

Maybe we’ve taken the PPE too far?

9 thoughts on “Rarely Seen in These Parts

  1. Wow, Elise, I’m saddened to learn that this “You can’t tell me what to do, even if it protects others as well as me” attitude is prevalent in northern B.C. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s disappointing. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think part of the problem is that there has been very little infection here, so far. The people are good and generous typically, but I fear it will take some very painful losses before the reality hits. What a different world from where you are in the Atlantic bubble!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The interesting thing here is that by and large people are very cautious and wear their masks. The outbreak recently in northern NB may have been a good reminder for everyone else, as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm. I’m guessing that whether or not we see the masks depends on our perspective. Personally, I’m seeing a lot of them, these days — even walking down the street in their masks; driving cars in their masks . . . . it’s weird. I want to be able to smile at complete strangers (whether or not they are wearing a mask) so that they won’t forget what a random smile feels like. And yes, I AM that conspiracy theorist 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My state of MS was under a statewide mask mandate for several weeks and you’d have thought people were being asked to sacrifice their firstborn. But our cases plummeted.

    Since the mandate expired, cases are once again spiking.

    That tells me (which I already believed) that they work.

    I’m used to being a square peg in the round hole in these here parts. My progressive way of thinking always collides with my surrounding populace. I think Sasquatch and I would be kindred spirits!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It has become a habit – though once or twice, I forgot to don my mask before leaving the car and my husband quickly corrected me with “Mask!” I don’t wear it when walking in my neighbourhood, as we all make a wide berth from each other. People are very polite about it, and I’m not sure if that’s because walkers around here are assumed to be neighbours (so you better be polite!).

    Liked by 1 person

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