About Face

Monday was a ‘feeling out’ day. Maine went mask-less on May 24th, and I for one was ready. However, just because our Gov said it was OK, with reservations of course, didn’t mean that every business, and/or person, had signed on. As government is so want to do, they just opened the cage. It was up to each individual and business to decide whether or not they wanted to step out. Many of the chain stores relaxed their mask requirements, as did our supermarket. But not without a plea to unvaccinated shoppers to please mask up and to those of us that were, well, they wouldn’t be upset if we did so too.

So, it was with some trepidation that I entered the hallowed halls of produce and perceptions. I casually looked around me to scope the atmosphere and found that more then half the people were still masked. It was a little unnerving to be the only bare faced guy checking out the vegetables. I soon found myself looking for others ‘of my kind’ with a subconscious urge to surround myself with them. It turned out this was going to be harder then I thought. I was obviously in the minority.

As I progressed, I started chastising myself for my feelings of unease, frequently reaching into my pocket and fondling the mask I had brought for moral support. Be brave, I thought. Soon, more people will take heart from your actions and themselves begin to cast off the bonds of maskdom. You will be seen as a leader, unafraid, forging a new future.

Soon, my feelings of forced isolation began to wane and I stood a little straighter, walking with more confidence. However, since the directional arrows had been removed from the aisles, it was now possible and probable that you were going to meet other people moving in the opposite direction, and I did. Rounding a corner, I was confronted by a dad and his two young daughters, all masked. I didn’t think anything of it at first until I noticed one of the daughters staring at me and she appeared to be frowning. In a gesture of civility, I smiled. She did not smile back. As I passed their cart, she stepped a little closer to her father, her gaze never wavering. After passing them, I had to look back and sure enough, she was still staring. All my bravado began to recede and my quilt trip began. I had just been dissed by an 8 year old.

In retrospect, it occurred that we adults may have a rocky road to travel, at least initially, where it pertains to the kids. Niether of those little girls were yet 12 so showing them my immunization card probably would not make a difference. They were too young to carry one and were probably too young to read it anyway. They were just emerging from a prolonged environment where school meant a few hours daily on a computer and playing outside was a memory. Physical interaction is something that had been eliminated from their life over a year ago. The only thing, at least to them, that had changed, was me.

I am going out again today, and again, I am going to cast off the chains of isolation wherever and whenever possible. I will again display my newly regained sense of freedom, although, not assertively. But I can’t help wondering about that dad and his two girls. I wonder how long it will be before one of them climbs in his lap and says “Dad, are the people with faces the same as us”?

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at poormanspoet.wordpress.com to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Children, Coping, Friendship, Future, Generations, Humor, Insight, Kids, Pandemic, Reflection, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to About Face

  1. quiall says:

    I love that last line! I’m prepared to live with my mask for a long time yet. There are still too many unanswered questions and the variants are still out there.


    • oldmainer says:

      I don’t think there is a right or wrong. We each have to decide for ourselves.


    • Sonya Kassam says:

      Yes! The last line was powerful, as are all the closing lines of Bob’s posts.

      We’re all still masked up here in Kenya, and watching some countries destroy expired vaccines is a bewildering experience when a few of us have only had the first dose.

      I feel this virus has taught us lessons never found in any classrooms, any scriptures nor in any leaders’ manifestos.

      Time to listen to Mama Nature 🍃


      • oldmainer says:

        Hi. So good to hear from you. I’m hoping we are on the way out of this and that you will soon have your second shot. We are going to have to learn interaction all over again. It is going to be a different world going forward I suspect. I pray we have learned something, but history indicates otherwise. All we can do is have faith and live wisely. Take care of yourself.


  2. Paul says:

    Good article. Good points. We wear ours when out as not sure how safe yet and my wife’s resistance still low. It is an individual decision, if you have had shots. Good luck…


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