In conflict resolution, there’s a stage called “deciding to engage.” Instead of continuing to disagree, the parties agree to hear out one another. Wearing a face mask in a time of pandemic sends the same message.
My wife and I wear masks when we’re around other people. We don’t do it to protect ourselves. We wear masks to protect others.
Doing so is both a tangible and personal way to show that you care about others. When others return the protective behavior, I much appreciate it.
I took my bicycle to the repair shop in the little, historical town of Dayton, Virginia. When I pulled into the parking lot, everyone wore a mask. I was relieved.
I had no doubts whatsoever about entering the shop, only the third public building I had been in since mid-March. All the employees and customers wore masks. We were able to exchange the necessary information with no hindrance or delay at all.
From there, I drove to a favorite coffee shop. I had called in my order and sent a text message with the parking spot number when I arrived. In no time at all, the server brought the order to my vehicle.
We both wore masks and disposable gloves, she for me, me for her. In less than a minute, I had my coffee, she had her payment and tip, and we were both on our separate ways safely.
Our middle grandchild recently celebrated his 14th birthday in an unusual but safe manner. His organized mother requested in the email invitations that his friends could either drive or walk past their house at a designated time to surprise Davis.
Davis stood in his front yard, wearing a mask like everyone else. All kept a safe distance as they wished Davis a happy birthday. Their shouts of best wishes and the sparkle in their eyes were all the presents Davis needed.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has done an excellent job of flattening the curve. As the governor began to phase open businesses and other public places, wearing masks inside those establishments remained required.
Virginia’s success has been in part because so many folks have followed the recommended mask-wearing guidelines. My encounters at the bike shop, coffee shop, and our grandson’s birthday bash confirmed that commitment. I hope those trends continue.
To some, wearing a mask is an inconvenience. Still, it is a necessary one to slow and hopefully stop this invisible, prolific virus. Since a proven vaccine appears to be far in the future, it’s just common sense for the common good to follow the essential guidelines.
Mask wearing doesn’t interfere with one’s constitutional rights, either. Wearing a shirt and shoes into a store are required, and I hope you have pants or a skirt on, too. Buckling up seatbelts is another safety requirement. Safety is paramount with Covid-19, also.
I chatted with a friend about the concept of wearing face masks during the pandemic. He made a marvelous point. Even though a cover conceals their mouths, Steve said he can still tell that other people are smiling.
Let your heart’s love for life shine through bright eyes. That way, the necessary mask can’t hide your friendliness.
Wear your masks. Keep physical distance, and don’t forget to wash your hands. For now, that’s the best we can do for one another and the common good.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2020