This morning, I got an ad from Facebook for a t-shirt. It was about the proper way to wear face masks and it starred Snoopy, famed comic beagle.
As much as I love Peanuts, beagles, and t-shirts, I can’t imagine having the nerve to wear something like this in public. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you already know how I feel about people who have didactic motivations. I think wearing a t-shirt like this would be pretty obnoxious behavior.
To be clear, I am certainly not above being obnoxious. I guess I just prefer my brand of obnoxious behavior to be more along the lines of being loud, vulgar, and crude. I have pretty much hated the face mask evangelism movement ever since it became popular a few months ago. From the beginning, I have said that I’d rather stay home than wear a mask. That’s mainly what I do. When I go in public, I do wear a mask, but I hate doing it. And while I wear the mask properly and notice when people wear them the wrong way, I wouldn’t feel comfortable confronting someone over it. Wearing a t-shirt or mask like these is basically confronting everyone who sees it. I find it off putting, rather than cute.
I might not be opposed to wearing a mask that has tiny dicks all over it. That’s also an obnoxious thing to do, but at least if someone comments on it, I can tell them they need to socially distance more. For all of my talk about vulgar subjects, the reality is that I’m not really that vulgar in practice. I don’t enjoy looking at genitals– male or female, even when they are in comic form like the ones pictured above. But I do like to shock people. It’s one of my less appealing characteristics.
I don’t wear “cute” masks. I don’t want to get into that trend, because I want this face mask thing to be a temporary requirement. I did try to order cloth masks from Novica, but the ones I chose were backordered and by the time they finally became available, I had a new credit card and the old one no longer worked. The payment was rejected, and correcting it would have been more of a hassle than I wanted to deal with, so I cancelled the order. I’m still wearing paper masks on the rare occasions I go somewhere where they are required. I might get a cloth mask if they’re more comfortable, but really, I hope they go out of style soon. Some people will happily wear them from now on. Not me.
I don’t know why I’m like this… I have a rebellious streak, I guess. I’ve mentioned before that it took me many years to get into the habit of wearing a seatbelt, even after wearing them became law in Virginia back in 1988. I’ve always hated them. I really hated them when I was a child, and would pitch a fit when my dad would– on occasion– make me wear them. I think it was mostly because he usually forced me to wear them when he was in control freak mode or wanted to punish me. My parents always wore their seatbelts. I never saw either of them drive or ride in a car without one on. But they were very inconsistent about making me wear them. A lot of times, they let me get away without wearing one because I would throw huge tantrums.
Then I married Bill, who is a safety fanatic. And we bought cars that ding incessantly if I don’t wear a seatbelt. And we live in a country where not wearing them results in large fines. And it’s become a habit, even though I still find them annoying. Actually, the Volvo’s seatbelts are very comfortable and I barely notice them. The ones in my Mini are less comfortable, but if that car gets in an accident, I’m probably less likely to survive. On the other hand, this year has sucked enough that maybe being beamed up early isn’t such a bad idea. At least I won’t have any more problems or worries. And it’s not like anyone depends on me.
The other day, I mentioned on Facebook my hatred for seatbelts. I posted about it because I read a fascinating article on History.com about how back in the 1980s, politicians who boosted seatbelt laws were labeled as akin to Hitler and regularly got hate mail from people who didn’t want to be told what to do in the form of a nanny law. There was a tremendous lobby against seatbelt laws and automotive safety. A lot of it was due to money and people’s concepts of “personal freedom”.
Car makers didn’t want to spend the money to make cars safer by installing driver’s side airbags, and people didn’t want to be told what to do. Also, seatbelts in the 1970s and 80s were not nearly as comfortable or adjustable as they are today, so they truly were uncomfortable and restrictive. In the end, we ended up with tons of airbags and seatbelt laws. Most people wear seatbelts now… and a lot fewer people seem to go to church. I wonder if there is a connection. But it’s taken many years to get to where we are today. People really resisted seatbelt laws back in the day, and did their best to defeat features like automatic seatbelts and interlock systems that would not allow a car to start without a fastened seatbelt.
It’s always amusing to read the comments from people when I dare say something publicly about how much I hate seatbelts and miss the days when wearing them was voluntary. Group think really is an issue these days. To be clear, I do wear seatbelts, just like I wear masks. I just don’t like wearing them. I don’t understand why some people feel like a person has to comply with safety rules AND like that they are complying. For many people, it’s not enough for a person to simply comply with the rules. They also have to be a booster, or else they need an “intervention” of some sort and a lecture!
I got the usual comments about how some people won’t move their cars until everyone is wearing a seatbelt. But then I got a comment from my former shrink, who has since become a friend. He wrote about how he lost a friend he knew who was earning her Ph.D. She had just finished her training and passed her oral exams, and had gone on a date with the guy who had been the best man at my former shrink’s wedding. While my ex shrink’s friends were on their date, their car skidded around a corner and ran up against a tree. The car was an older model and the door handle protruded. The handle was sheared off as the car door hit the tree and the passenger side door flew open. The woman who had just passed her oral exams flew out of the car and fractured her spine, which killed her instantly. Ex shrink promised his friend, who had survived the crash, that he would always wear a seatbelt. He strongly encouraged me to do the same.
I was touched that my former shrink would share that story with me. I think if my dad had expressed more kindness and actual concern for me over this issue rather than stern military-esque orders, he would have gotten a much more compliant attitude from me in response. But my dad was often formal and controlling, and he was very much a military guy. That didn’t mean he wasn’t sometimes fun and loving, but he had a habit of issuing orders in an overbearing, offensive way that didn’t sit well with me. So I often rebelled, although when he wasn’t in a controlling mood, he was pretty negligent, so I didn’t have a need to rebel that often… if that makes sense.
Like– I never had a curfew, and my parents preferred that I work, even if it would have affected my performance in school or was dangerous in some way. I have a deep scar on my arm from the time when I was ten, and my dad made me break down cardboard boxes with a box cutter. Naturally, I cut the wrong way and injured myself. He didn’t even take me to a doctor for stitches and a tetanus shot, which I clearly needed (the blade went through all layers of skin). Whenever another adult had a complaint about me, his response was to immediately side with the other adult, yell at, and physically punish me, rather than hear my side of the story. He rarely protected me and instead, acted like a bully. As you can see, that treatment left lasting scars beyond the one on my arm. I don’t tolerate bullies anymore.
My mom was not strict at all about most things. My dad was strict only when he felt like being strict or something affected him personally. But his strictness was haphazard and inconsistent, and more often involved the threat of physical punishment and yelling than actual concern for my well-being. Also, my parents were very worried about what other people thought, which also didn’t sit well with me, and still doesn’t, when I see that attitude in other people. I am much more impressed by people who care about what their loved ones think than what the neighbors think.
I do think my dad loved me. I don’t think he shared his love and concern in a constructive way that translated very well. He was often kind of mean to me. Consequently, I rebelled when he issued orders, and I chafed at his attempts to control me, even when it came to things that were supposedly for my own good, like wearing seatbelts. And the fact that my former shrink, who hasn’t seen me in person since 2004, showed what appears to be more genuine concern for me than my dad ever did, is not lost on me. But then, my dad sometimes showed his love in other ways, like when he would make me periscopes out of mirrors and matte board, and when he helped me move to South Carolina for graduate school (though that was partly for his benefit).
When I met Bill, I finally found a genuinely kind, caring, loving man who honestly had real regard for me as a person. I don’t mind wearing a seatbelt for him, because it’s not about issuing orders and having me obey him. He actually cares, even though I like to joke about him becoming “Pat Boone”. I think my former shrink cares, too. He wrote that he doesn’t want to lose another friend. The fact that my ex shrink sees me as a friend means a lot to me. He’s in a line of work that puts him in contact with all sorts of very difficult people. I must not be so bad, after all– despite public opinion to the contrary. 😉 It’s reassuring.
One last side note. I recently wrote about how I “married Black Beauty” and Bill married “Ginger”. If you’ve ever read the book, Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell, it might make sense. Black Beauty was a well-bred, well-mannered, beautiful black stallion who always worked hard, was honest, and was well-behaved. Ginger was a hard working mare who did not tolerate abuse and would kick up a fuss when she was treated badly. Black Beauty and Ginger never “got together”, but I always got the sense that they were kind of a couple. I have been encouraging Bill to read Anna Sewell’s classic book. I think he’d like it, and understand more clearly what I mean when I tell him he reminds me of Black Beauty, while I’m more like Ginger.