Mask side-eye

Photo by Flickr Creative commons Eden, Jaime and Jim

He gave me the side eye as we passed on the sidewalk. It’s a new age look that new mask wearers have adopted.

I was walking to Winnemac Park in Ravenswood for my daily quarantine constitutional, wearing a basic disposable face mask, per the governor’s executive order when in public and unable to maintain six feet social distance.

The other guy was not wearing a mask, and his disdainful look suggested he disapproved of my cowardly capitulation to the government’s guidelines. This brief exchange led me to conduct an unscientific survey of how others were dealing with the rules as the holiday weekend’s good weather drew many people outside.

Doing laps around the park and furtively talking into my EarPods’ microphone, I counted who was wearing masks, who wasn’t and who was doing it wrong.

The numbers: roughly one-third of people were wearing masks, two-thirds weren’t and an outlying seven percent or so had masks but weren’t wearing them correctly.

You could realistically walk through the park and avoid coming within six feet of others, but most people were oblivious to this.

The most baffling part was the mixed-mask couples and groups. I saw a handful of couples with almost always the woman wearing a mask while the man didn’t. I saw biking families with the parents wearing masks while their kids didn’t. I saw groups of friends close together with some in masks and some not. A pregnant woman walked alone with no mask.

Contrasted to this, one woman alone in the middle of a field wore a mask with no one within several yards of her. The only consistent thing was inconsistency.

Another older man sitting on a bench gave me a side eye as I passed.

Aside from the simple masked or no-mask people, there were those who had masks and didn’t wear them properly or wear them at all. One older couple, chasing their wayward poodle through the park, had masks around their necks as they yelled freely passing within inches of others. Many kids on bikes wore masks pulled under their noses.

A third maskless man gave me side eye, but then I wondered if it was the kind of mask I wore. It’s a basic light blue face mask that looks similar to surgical masks. Maybe they think I’m hoarding PPE.

Regardless of the inconsistency people show as we slowly reemerge from lockdown, a message written in chalk on a walking path in the park offers some hope. It read, “We will get thru this by love!”

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