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.