My friend, who is American but lives in Britain, just shared this scary PSA from the British government about the importance of adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. They are asking people to stay home, wear masks, wash their hands, and do as they’re told.
Even though yesterday, I wrote about how I don’t think curfews are a good idea, I do think staying home is important. It’s important to stay away from other people as much as possible to help curtail the spread of the virus. However, many people are caught in an impossible situation. If you look at the comments on YouTube for this video, you can see how people wonder how they’re supposed to pay the bills if they heed this advice to the tee. Many people are still going to work away from home because they’re deemed “essential” and, if they don’t go to work, they won’t get paid or stay employed. It’s enough to drive a sane person mad.
As I watched the above PSA, I was reminded of the 1970s, when my dad worked at Mildenhall Air Force Base. We lived in base housing, but got local television rather than the Armed Forces Network (AFN). I distinctly being a small child, watching British TV. They were famous for their scary PSAs. A couple of people on YouTube made entertaining videos about that phenomenon some years ago. These were done long before COVID-19 was a thing.
It’s not just the Brits who are being scary, though. A few days ago, I read an article on The New York Times about people who have now decided to “double mask”. My immediate reaction to that article was utter annoyance. I’m not gonna lie. And, just as I suspected, there were many insulting virtue signaling comments from people who apparently lack any understanding of human nature. There are still many people out there who won’t wear ONE mask, let alone two. There are some who will wear them, but not properly. And yet, the virtue signalers are now shaming anyone who refuses to don two of them or doesn’t want to put peer pressure on everyone to wear two.
Here in Germany, cloth masks are now outlawed, as of today. I mean, yes, you can wear them, but they’re forbidden in shops and on public transportation. If you go into a grocery store wearing a cloth mask, it’s very likely that the cashier will tell you to GTFO. In Bavaria, FFP2 masks are required for local trains and buses and for shopping. I don’t actually have a problem with requiring “better” medical masks. From the beginning of this nightmare, I have only used surgical masks, which are still okay in most parts of Germany. I never thought the cloth masks were effective. I don’t have a sewing machine, and even if I did, any mask I could make would not be as good as a disposable one made by a company that is in the business of making them. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I have no desire to wear “cute” masks. I don’t want them to be fashionable, because I want this to be a temporary thing. Maybe I’m fooling myself for having that wish… It’s beginning to seem like we’re never going to get our lives back.
What I don’t understand are the people who insist on telling everyone else how great they’re doing, following the rules, and how they were somehow more enlightened than the rest of us. So many people on the Facebook link to The New York Times’ piece are posting about how they’ve been wearing two masks the whole time. Others are posting about how they can barely stand to wear one mask. Those who are being truthful about how they’re struggling with this new way of life are being insulted and berated by unsympathetic people. Then there are the sarcastic ones making jokes, some of which, I must admit, are hilarious. I try to encourage the jokers. We need humor to get through this. I know if I can’t laugh, I’ll definitely cry, and that will lead to a loss of hope. A loss of hope will lead to darker things. Poor Bill has been such a trouper, listening to my non-stop bitching. He would have made a fine therapist.
Below is one comment I spotted… one of so very many.
Keep making fun but the doctors I know have been doing it since April. The nurses have to as well as we continue to wear masks long after they expire, we cover with a toss away to keep the larger droplets off. Most of the publics masks are thin and just for show. If you have a good one it will last longer by covering it with a toss away or a washable. At least we hope…. And if you are vain, then the cover makes it nicer looking. I will never understand the psychology behind antimaskers. The defiance, lack of self preservation, And ignorance is perverse. But for anyone who has real concern for themselves and others, this is smart, not something to ridicule.
To the above commenter, I would say that people need to laugh and make fun. If they don’t laugh, this situation will become truly overwhelming for a lot of people. This complete change in lifestyle is a huge challenge for many. I think those who are willing to do what they can, even if it means they just wear one mask, should simply be congratulated. Change isn’t easy, and shaming and lecturing people isn’t helpful. Neither is scaring the shit out of them with frightening PSAs. Here’s another comment from a true COVID-19 martyr who clearly deserves the gooiest of cookies…
The one time I flew during 2020 I wore a surgical mask, covered by a cloth mask, and a plastic face shield over both of those. Didn’t take any of those off from the time I entered my ride share to the first airport & the time I walked out of my destination’s airport before switching to clean masks before entering my parents’ car once outside & away from everyone. Even on my layover, didn’t take any of the masks off. It was super uncomfortable during my 12+ hour trip, but it protected me & my family I was visiting.
I’ve mentioned before how disconcerting I think it is when people won’t let others say what’s on their minds. It seems like if you aren’t cheerleading for all things that will theoretically stem the tide of COVID-19, you earn yourself a good self-righteous smackdown from someone who is apparently committed to doing all the “right” things (but is probably actually a hypocrite). It doesn’t matter what your feelings are or that it’s taking a toll on your mood. If you’re not with the program as the “experts” present it, you’re definitely part of the problem. I think people haven’t stopped to realize that the experts are changing their minds daily. Not too long ago, masks were not even recommended. Now they want us to wear two at a time. And people are claiming that even though less than a year ago, the U.S. Surgeon General actually tweeted a request that people stop buying masks, they’ve been wearing two masks at all times since last spring. I call bullshit.
I notice that in this piece I wrote back in June, people were a lot more tolerant of those who have health or other issues that make mask wearing problematic. Now, if you’re not willing to wear two or three masks and a shield or a visor and gloves or whatever else, you’re a selfish asshole who deserves to die. Seriously, I’ve seen many mean-spirited comments from people who post responses like “RIP” to those who dare to admit they aren’t on the bandwagon. Some people are posting that they have trouble breathing with the masks. They are quickly told that trouble breathing can’t be their experience, even if it legitimately is. I mean, we’re all different, right? Just because you can wear two or three masks at a time, does that automatically mean everyone else can do it, too? Are we all the same?
I don’t like the face masks. I have never made a secret of that. I stay home most of the time because I hate wearing them. I am fortunate enough to be in a situation in which I can do that. When I go out, I wear a mask. Just one mask. If I have to upgrade to a FFFP2 or a N95, I guess I’ll do that. But I refuse to jump on the shame train and turn into an insufferable asshole because of COVID-19. I have compassion for those who get sick, even if it’s supposedly their own fault. I think it’s hard for most of us to fathom how horrible this sickness is until it affects us personally. And some of us will do everything the right way and still get sick. Right now, God only really knows.
It’s probably a good thing I’m not on Stuttgart Friends anymore…