Unmasking my Thoughts

Trigger warning: I’m about to throw a few of my thoughts on the continuing argument FOR or AGAINST any and all things pandemic related such as whether we should be hoarding cat food or toilet paper, relying on masks or vaccines, or why I have to maintain a certain level of sympathy for folks who have done none of the above.

Maybe my current view is slightly skewed because, frankly, life in the McGillicutty house has been full of (what I would now consider) real problems. We’ve had a string of those kinds of weeks that make one go Now this, this is the stuff to stress about! So, yeah…pandemics…? Oh, pandemics seem easy. Trying to figure out why your robot vacuum constantly enters your office the second you take a call or why the dogs cannot handle the neighbors pulling into their own driveway – those are my real challenges. Pandemics? It’s been 18 months, I think we’re pretty settled in.

Except that I often find myself making this face:

Why? Because the continuation of heated arguments which mostly finish with we’re just going to be rude to each other seems so incredibly dumb. So dumb that I sometimes question myself – like Oh, wait, is that how we talk to each other now? Maybe whether we are losing the battle with Covid shouldn’t be our biggest concern – maybe the bigger concern should be losing the battle with logic and kindness and the disappearance of our, once natural, inclination to help our fellows humans.

Okay, yeah. I already see the irony here. I came in kind of hot. In a blog that is about my exhaustion over people coming in hot.

We’re here now. So let me wrangle through a few of the common arguments I find on my feeds. The ones that I typically scroll by the most when browsing social media unless I want to participate by voyeurism, popcorn in hand, reading as people roast each other. Not familiar with the “scroll by”? You can actually ignore things you do not want to read or see. You can just move on without even commenting. For instance, this blog. You are under zero obligations here.

End of trigger warning.

Argument 1: We need to get this country back open.

Yeah, no shit. Find me one person who doesn’t agree. I mean, except for the ones cashing in checks while still sitting on their couches. But find me one of the other kinds. Getting this country back open is exactly what the majority of people are trying and wanting to do – most especially all of the businesses that somehow survived being shut down for months in 2020. Imagine being one of those businesses. Yay! You survived the pandem…what the shite’s a variant?! It must be terrifying, still desperate to recoup last year’s losses and now faced with the idea of shutting down again as the positivity rates start climbing. I suppose if I owned one of those shops or restaurants or an offered service and I had the option of requiring my patrons to create an environment less likely to cause the closing of my doors again, I’d do it. If it meant I’d be able to continue to pay those willing to work and putting food on my own family’s table, I’d settle into the idea that losing non-compliant patrons would be a reasonable cost. I might also wonder why those non-compliant patrons would rather take an angry stand than to help me to stay afloat.

Argument 2: We need to get our schools opened.

Yes, please! Table for one! I’m tempted to suggest that, if you don’t own a teenager, you just sit quietly aside while this gets hashed out. We mothers of teens are not okay. I will put my kid in a chicken suit and drive him to school in the Weiner Mobile if that’s what it takes to get him out of my house. There seems to be a lot of people interested in making declarations on my child’s well-being at the moment. Quick question…where have you been? Where were you when I was trying to get him out of bed or to do his chores? Where were you when I needed someone to show him the proper way to empty the dishwasher (step one: open it…). If you really want to be useful, maybe swing by and show him how to fold his clothes as they come out of the dryer. I do think I have a pretty good grip on what’s best for my child. What I don’t think is that I really know anything at all about what it’s like to manage entire school districts. At all. Ever. And most certainly not during a pandemic. I didn’t listen to virtual math last year, but I don’t think one year of hosting online school qualifies me to scream at administrators for administrating incorrectly.

I think everyone gets the message – you may not want your child to have to mask while at school. There are other options – but maybe those don’t work for you. Would it help if the mask was part of the dress code? No midriffs, no vulgar T-shirts, no spewing wet particles of ick at liberty. If you felt that pants stifled your child’s abilities to learn, would you come in just as hot? Has your child mentioned how inconvenient pants are? No? What about masks? Without knowing your thoughts and without leading the witness, has your child really had any self-developed opinion on masking? Because my guess is they haven’t. My guess is they just want to be with their friends. My guess is they’d like you to stop making them feel like they are doing something wrong when they don’t feel like they are doing something wrong but you keep having a meltdown so … yeah…

I’m guessing all of that based on conversations with my teens. They literally do not care. And one’s a teenager who will argue about the wetness of the rain if asked. I was fully prepared to stand up for his rights, until I realized he would prefer I save my energy for nagging about shoes left under tables or the thirty five glasses half-filled with water sprinkled around the house. Instead, I redirected my energy to helping stock his classrooms with paper towels and wipes and dry erase markers. We panic about the kids not having a normal school year – we forget that in their young brains, wearing a mask to school during a pandemic is their normal. It is not my normal, because I never had to do it.

Try redirecting your energy in the form of attacking your school’s wishlist.

It really is much more rewarding.

Argument 3: My Body, My Choice

Yes. That is precisely what we crazy vaxxers and mask-willing nut jobs are saying. But before I delve into that…

PSA Warning: Are we really using a phrase typically attributed to our (heavily male) government’s control over every woman’s uterine rights as an argument for putting a four-inch cloth on your face? Okay, I mean, yeah – it’s a little stale but if you think they’re comparable issues, then I look forward to your vote come election time. As you now feel our feels (thank you face hole cover), I can’t imagine losing your support when it comes to the government controlling our baby hole.

End of PSA warning.

Masks? Vaccines? Sure! Your body, your choice. Wear mask, enter restaurant. No mask? Do not pass go. Your body. Your choice. Want to attend a concert (finally? after 9000 months)? Great! Just bring along your proof of vaccine OR a negative Covid test. Your body, your choice. You still get to decide. Nobody is saying that you have to get vaccinated or wear a mask. They are saying that you get to choose…and also, as with all choices in life, there are reactions to your actions.

Screaming at the face bouncer who is only enforcing company policy will only make you look, well, stupid. If you are so upset at a company’s policy that you must scream profanities at a kid making minimum wage…then why are you also upset that they do not want your business? Does this fall into the I-don’t-get-it logic of pitching a public fit because the local bakery serves (sharp intake of breath), the gays? If you truly don’t want your cupcake mix mingling with vaccinated people cupcake mix – go somewhere else. Quietly. Because it is your body and your choice.

(also, don’t cancel me… I know they aren’t called “the gays”… that was sarcasm directed to the people who are afraid to share their icing squirters)

(also, yes, I agree, if we need a vax card to enter a restaurant, the library, or Bath & Body Works… then we should also be able to see the vax cards of the employees. Just them up there by the restaurant ratings, please)

Argument #4: Freedom

It’s a free country. This infringes on my freedoms. You can’t take away my freedom.

You’re adorable and I love you but we actually live in a free-ish country…not free. We live with an endless list of rules and standards and heavy suggestions and, yes, laws that prevent us from harming ourselves or others that we all follow every dang blessed day without even noticing. I cannot go topless to the Piggly Wiggly. This is a protective measure on many, many levels. I cannot put my feet on a restaurant table. I cannot load up on tequila, hop in my car without a seatbelt, cruise along with my headlights turned off while not using my wipers in the rain. I cannot check in for a flight with a wink, wink, promise that I am the person listed on the ticket. We are a governed society. Governed by ways to protect those around us. I’m sorry if you didn’t know. This is awkward….


Have we really gone so far down the path of chaos that accepting opportunities to help others is met with immediate disdain? That’s weird. And why do I care? I often ask myself this. Why do you care? Why do I care? Do I care? Do I care who gets vaccinated or not? Why do any of us care in either direction? Isn’t the universe just creating a textbook-real-life example of Darwinism? I can read – I see that the rate of those dying via Covid now skews strongly to those that are unvaccinated.

Why do I care?

Perhaps because I have known (unvaccinated) people (plural) that have not survived. They have not survived and they have died alone in an ICU bed that had a waiting list to be re-filled. And I know vaccinated people (plural) who have had breakthrough cases and made it through relatively unscathed.

Perhaps because I feel like I’m being asked to accept the idea of losing others, as if my preference for them remaining alive does not matter. It should. I don’t want to lose anybody else.

Perhaps because I keep seeing words thrown around about how we need to get this country open again by people who are not doing the one, almost guaranteed, now FDA approved, thing to get this country open again. Do you want it open or not? Or only under your own conditions? And what are those? Because I’ve done all of the right things – I’ve masked and sanitized and isolated and distanced and, yes, vaccinated. Why do I keep dreading the news each day? I did everything right.

Perhaps because I am totally fine with restaurants and stores requiring vaccines for entry. I’ve done my part. Shouldn’t my reward be to be able to sit down to a dinner made by someone else (also vaccinated) without worry about what I might catch from the table next to mine? If that’s not fair, what is? Is it only fair if you get to come and spread your germ laced liberties? If I came running through a restaurant slashing patrons with a knife, I would likely be asked to leave. No, I might not actually even kill anyone – just a cut here or a gash there – but that doesn’t make it okay, right? Right? I guess I’m not really into that whole argument anymore that if I’m too nervous about the virus, I should stay home. I did stay home. And then I got vaccinated. And I wear a mask as requested. And now I can go out. Except here we are again, peering into what may be another lockdown, because we have so many people missing the needle point.

Perhaps because I’m tired of hearing we don’t even know what’s in the vaccine from people that likely have never asked for a list of ingredients in any of their previous vaccines or, for that matter, any of the foods they eat every day. I just had pizza for breakfast – it could have been made out of cow patties – I did not read the ingredients. It was delicious. Can you tell me what’s in your White Claw? No? This seems like a stupid hill to die on.

Perhaps, most of all, I’m exhausted with the societal lean towards not caring about one another on any level – and certainly not a basic level. I was out last weekend with a couple that mentioned (again) the country really needing to pull together – doing something good for the majority. Hello? Can’t we? Can’t we do the thing that is the most beneficial to the most people? I mean, yeah, I heard you a year ago when you wanted to see more data on the vaccine. I wanted more data as well – I just live in a home where in order to protect the one of us who needed more protection, we all got vaccinated. It’s been a year now and I’ve yet to develop a third nipple or grow horns. I have heard a lot about people still dying and healthcare still being overrun – although now the victims are predominantly unvaccinated. Which data is it that you’re waiting for again?

Perhaps it’s because herd immunity seems like a historically successful way to end pandemics. We haven’t heard much about it since, um, forever. Remember that huge polio outbreak? No? Right. Chicken Pox? No? I see. Diphtheria? Measles? Rubella? Meningitis? Mumps? When you step on a nail do you ask for a full list of ingredients and side effects prior to the jab of a tetanus shot?

Maybe there is something to all of that. Maybe there should be comfort in it. Maybe we just accept the idea that we eradicated all of those things by throwing tantrums and calling people names using science.

Perhaps I’m just tired of being so easily able to identify the people who will have no problem trampling the elders and children in a race to safety.

And, of course, even the eye rollers, scroll by-ers, and ranters will still get my thoughts and prayers.

I’m the kind gal that still has a lot of interest in the greater good.

I’m also willing to continue being a helper to get there.

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