Yes, You Can Wear a Mask and Say Good Morning.
Yesterday after a tough 4 mile hike, my family and I headed to the car. A group walked by wearing masks and a woman covered her mouth with her hand and looked the other way. She was over 6 feet away with a mask on.
I understand the fear associated with the pandemic. I have felt the same. But, there is also trail etiquette. If passing someone on a narrow trail, you can turn your face to pass but usually it is followed by a comment. “Good Morning”, or “Good Afternoon”. Sometimes even “Have a Nice Day”!
This has happened countless times hiking and while in the grocery store. People have become anti-social and it’s terrifying.
I’ve always held the door open for the person behind me. I say good morning to people when I walk my dog. I wave at someone I catch looking in my direction. I smile at someone in line at the grocery store and ask them how they are doing.
Usually it’s well received. Everyone smiles back and engages in conversation. Recently, it’s met with fear.
It hurts. If we can’t be nice to each other in times like these, when will we? Is fear controlling our ability to be human?
I don’t have an answer. All I can say is that if you’re scared while reading this, so am I.
I’m not scared of living my life. I’m not scared of people. I’m not scared of engaging in conversation with a stranger, be it on a trail or in the store.
I’m scared of what we are becoming. I’m scared we are turning into introverted creatures who never leave the house. And most of all, I’m scared of the effect this will have on our children.
While my son had a soccer lesson the other day, I took my daughter to the park near the field. We wore our masks. I wanted to give her the opportunity to play with another child if she saw one. She did. She jumped off the swing and ran over to the little girl, a smile in her eyes and a bright flowered mask covering her little nose and mouth.
Do you want to play?
The little girl said no and ran away. She was scared. Scared of playing with my daughter. Scared of getting sick.
My heart sank. My daughter’s shoulders slumped. She came back and told me the girl didn’t want to play with her. I did my best to explain but it bothered me.
People are entitled to have different opinions. I understand we all live in different houses and raise our children differently. That’s the beauty of our world.
I don’t understand raising your children in fear. Would it have been bad if the girls had played with each other wearing masks? Comfort levels are different but children are children.
My fear is that 25 years from now when my children are grown and have their own houses, they live in a neighborhood where neighbors don’t make conversation. They stay at home in fear. They don’t allow their children to play. They don’t engage in conversation. I’m not comfortable with this future.
I’m doing the best I can with what I can control. We follow safety protocols while allowing our children to play. I continue to engage in conversation with strangers. And I continue to enforce socialization and kindness with my children. That’s all I can do. I just hope others are doing it too.