Here’s my one and only missive about the Corona virus. And it may not be what you think.
First I believe in the mask. But outside on the trails of Whatcom Falls you’ll find me mask-less. Not a political statement just listening to all the medical advice surrounding the mask issue. The doctors I’ve read all agree that inside (grocery store, political rallies, DnD roll playing table) the mask is the only deterrent to the virus spreading. And most doctors will agree that unless you are in a large crowd of people outside, the need for a mask outside is diminished. If you can practice social distancing. Notice I said large crowds such as political rallies. But it’s your decision and I won’t judge you as long as you respect that 6ft (or more) social distancing. I know I will mask or no mask. Even outside.
I always wear a mask inside. Because I care about my fellow humans. I hope you do too. But again this isn’t really about masks as others much smarter than I, have said volumes on the subject. What I want to address is something I’ve seen since the beginning of Covid-19. And that’s the deterioration of common courtesy. By that I mean holding doors for people, picking up an item a person has dropped, and on those trails I mentioned earlier not taking the entire path when you could move to the side so we are 6ft apart from each other. Mask or no mask.
Courtesy though is something that seems to have become a thing of the past. I understand though. Let me give you an example of something that happened recently. This is an example of me being courteous as I would in the Pre-covid times. A woman walked by my porch and her hands were full. She had a sweater draped over her shoulder and as she walked by it fell to the ground. Now my mother taught me to be courteous and open doors and allow others to pass before me and help any person who might need that help. So I move to pick up this woman’s sweater off the ground saying, “Hang on I’ll get that”. Her response with her hands full, was “Oh no I’m fine” as she juggles the stuff in her hands and picks up her sweater and walks on. Honestly for a minute I was offended. I was just trying to help. But here’s the thing. I would have touched her sweater(covid contact) and we would have been inside that 6 foot barrier. Frankly I realized this later and chastised myself for being bothered. This is now the way of our future. Believe me when I say that. If it doesn’t seem like it now just wait. Once we get this under control (and we will) life will still be covid conscious. That’s the one side and then there’s the other side. That 6 foot rule.
When all of this first started I went to the grocery store to stock up as the stay at home order hadn’t happened but was rumored. At that time no masks (including myself) or very few masks. Trader Joes though was already limiting the number of patrons in the store so we were lined up on a sidewalk with every 6 feet marked out for us to maintain social distancing. I applaud TJ’s for doing this. I get in line and as the line moves we hit a spot in front of a business that had marked off their entrance in attempt to keep it clear for their patrons. As I moved to the marker on the other side of the door the person behind me proceeded to walk up to the entrance marker, less than 6ft from me. I admit I turned and asked them to move back. They did with no comment but it seemed obvious to me that they were less than 6ft away from me thus defeating the social distancing protocol. But it was early days so I understand. Still where’s the common courtesy? We were in the beginning of what had been declared a pandemic and common courtesy was already being ignored.
The other thing I’ve noticed is on the trails around my area. Most people, especially now, will move to the far side of the trail as they walk by you. But there are those that don’t move over. Two people I can handle walking side by side as I’m able to move as far right on the trail to still give that 6ft a good try. Maybe not 6ft but close. Even though one of those two people could as a courtesy, move behind the other. The ones though that really get me and this should be a common courtesy even in times before covid, are the groups of three and more. In particular, once, I see a group of four (and one person on my side of the trail has a dog) coming towards me. The group covered the entire trail from side to side. They chatted as they ran but none of them, not even the person with the dog, moved aside. Basically pushing me (figuratively) off the trail and certainly if I’d wanted to avoid them I would have had to engage with the undergrowth of the woods around me.
So what’s my point you ask? Common courtesy shouldn’t be something we leave in wreckage of the Covid-19 world we will live in from now until eternity. Please and thank you are still a viable idea. Maybe the holding of doors will have to be re-thought but courtesy shouldn’t be thrown out with the bath water. And when I’m wearing a mask be aware that I’m probably smiling at you if we’ve made eye contact over the bananas at Trader Joes. Because I am. Let’s not forget the little things.