The Not Restful Rest Stop

October 15th, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 24 comments

My husband and I recently found ourselves at one of those rest stations that dot highways on the East coast. What I saw disturbed me. Let me preface my statements by saying that I am not about to, nor do I want to, turn this into a debate on the advantages or disadvantages of face masks.

What I do want to note is the danger of turning Americans into terrified mindless robots. I sat in the parking lot for a good fifteen minutes. During that time a fair number of people left their cars and entered the building in which the food and bathrooms are located. Masks were required to enter that building. I completely understand that people put on masks as they came closer to the doorways and kept their masks on as they exited. So far, so good.

What troubled me was seeing people putting on the masks as they were leaving their cars and keeping them on until they were back inside their vehicles. Frequently, once they were ten feet or so away from the building, they were not within 60 feet of another person.

Why were they masked when they were not in the vicinity of another human being? Why do I frequently even see people driving alone in their cars with masks firmly in place? Some, perhaps, have become accustomed to wearing masks for hours on end and they barely feel them anymore. I have trouble believing that is true for most people.

Heeding the warnings that masks potentially protect others from you suggests that there are others around you to protect. Wearing the mask in the footsteps of those who placed a string of garlic heads around their necks to ward off vampires is not a healthy sign for the Republic. There is nothing magical or mystical about a mask. If there is science behind the proscription, then it is not meant to mimic avoiding walking under a ladder or refusing to sit in the thirteenth row.

If you are wearing a mask when it has no possible advantage only because of fear of social censure, that is an even worse sign for our civilization. Following the crowd because you fear the crowd has led to many of society’s sins. Americans used to delight in movies and plays such as Twelve Angry Men or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Rugged individualism did not mean being anti-social but rather being a person who was committed to thinking for himself and sticking to one’s principles. Crowd-think was a scary scenario, not the desired outcome.

This was not a restful rest stop.

Crowd-think in a previous age? How about the times of Nimrod?
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24 comments

Kristyn Hall says:

I can’t help but think (again) of what it means to be a Happy Warrior. (The president referred to being a happy warrior in his address to Catholics for the Al Smith fundraiser, and I was just delighted.) We are losing that spirit of self-improvement and striving, and settling for the worst kind of complacent conformity. (I will add that the two movies you mentioned are often requested by my teenage boys when we have a movie night. They are favorites of mine, too).

Art Carnrick says:

I was reluctant to wear a mask as we used 0.45 microns filters in the lab to catch bacteria in groundwater. I understand that viruses are even smaller; so unless the mask is getting in the range of HazMat work, they don’t do much good. However, I got Covid and 6-8 weeks later I still have a cough, so I wear the mask as a courtesy around other people or when the sign says, “Mask required”… other than that I don’t wear it outside, in the car, etc. I like seeing folks in the food processing business wear masks. Like you, one should wear for a reason, not just because of peer pressure…

Dianne Garber says:

I sometimes leave my mask on even when not necessary to do so, as it’s too much of a nuisance to be constantly taking it on and off. Sometimes I even wear it in the car when I know I’ll soon be needing it – keeps me from forgetting it when I leave the car if I’m in a rush and my thoughts are elsewhere. I wear the disposable ones as they are the most easy to wear.

Judith Harris says:

What I see that I consider ludicrous are people driving in their cars with their masks in place. I believe there are studies or reports being given that indicate that wearing the mask and isolating may in fact be compromising our immunity because limiting our exposure to various germs diminishes our ability to fight them. I for one, carry my mask and put on at the door – because they are required. I remove my mask as I leave. There are no easy or pat answers, but we need to protect our individualism.

Tom Moore says:

Where I live the problem is people without masks in close proximity to others.

Cindy says:

Mask use by the general public drives me crazy, as their misuse (constant touching; taking off/putting on a dirty mask), I believe, is more detrimental than not wearing one at all….and wearing it to prevent the spread of a virus is basically foolish. The only benefit of the doubt I will give to someone wearing one in their car or other place no one else is near, is that they’re trying to minimize touching it and want to dispose of it properly. PS: I had Covid in March after what I believe were multiple exposures. I would rate it on level with a bad cold, but with a little different symptoms: low-grade fever, inflammation in my head w/headache and complete loss of smell and taste, which came back over several months. Acute phase was about 4 days. I’m in the “elderly” category, but active and healthy.

Kelly says:

Could you imagine if authorities demanded:
“All dogs must wear coverings over their nose and mouth forevermore! Bacteria, viruses, and all kinds of diseases spray like a firehose every time they bark!”.
INHUMANE.
But yet, people that must work long hard shifts to survive… Our children all day in school ..
are expected to endure this perpetual TORMENT and self harm long term – for potential COLD SYMPTOMS that have as close to 100% recovery rate possible?? We’ve been walking around with coronaviruses for centuries. But – fear and feelings have triumphed over rational logic.

I remember one other time in history when MILLIONS marched along, believing the media, “doctors”, authorities, were all too civilized to harm anyone.
1930s Germany all over again.

Kristin Grose says:

It will be very interesting to look back when the Covid becomes just a bad memory to see what worked and what didn’t, what was necessary and effective and what wasn’t. I believe the mask has becomes more of a virtue signal than anything protective. What I do know for sure is that Americans are angry, depressed and exhausted with the confusion, politicization and scare tactics. I am so ready for normal again but wonder if it will ever survive in this toxic environment.

Deborah M Hughes says:

Completely agree having had the very same thoughts

mimi cohen says:

I started wearing double masks (the disposable blue ones), everywhere outside my house. I read that the virus can stay in the air for a long time, like in elevators, hallways, etc small rooms, maybe not outdoors. It does not hurt do be preventive. Why blame people who wear masks?

Flayer1 says:

I do not understand people wearing masks while jogging and bicycling. I walk in the park to CLEAR my lungs, not gunk them up with my CO2-laden air (likely plus other organisms). I’m not a physician but wearing a mask while exerting oneself (bicycling, jogging, etc.) cannot be healthy nor helpful to anyone including the wearer. I feel so sorry for the little kids who are biking while masked. You are correct: a string of garlic is about as useful. Even the CDC has published that mask-wearing to prevent the spread of viruses has never been shown *scientifically* to prevent the spread of viruses but is only good for reducing anxiety. Reducing anxiety is important in this time of whipped up panic but but not at the expense of poor quality air with high CO2. Recently, a study showed that 85% of people who contracted Covid-19 claimed to wear masks “always” or “almost always.”

Mark says:

Susan,
Only speaking for myself here, so this might not apply to others at all. However, I confess that I do wear a mask a bit more than I have to—not that I enjoy it! . I have to wear one in public regardless, so there is that. I sometimes go for walks at night when there are few people around. I carry a mask in my pocket, in case it’s needed, but otherwise enjoy the walk mask-free. My reason for wearing the mask for brief periods even when I don’t have to, once I am out, is to keep myself from touching my face, which is SO EASY to do without thinking. There are times I actually go to rub my cheek, or wipe my nose with a handkerchief or tissue, and my hand bumps into the mask, and I say to myself, “Oh, right. Dummy!” I go shopping at various stores, I naturally touch all kinds of things. So I keep the mask on until I get home and can wash my hands. Then I take off the mask. To say that I will be glad when this is all over is an understatement.

Linda Orf Strebbing says:

I find it hilarious when 2 masked people approach each other and begin to talk, suddenly, the masks are pulled down to their chins so they can hear each other better. Kind of defeats the purpose. But as a severely hearing impaired person, I totally understand. These masks are kind of discriminatory against the hearing impaired who have difficulty hearing with no masks and often rely on lip reading. Maybe we should make sign language the mandatory second language in the second grade like they tried to make French back in the day. 😂

Ross Williams says:

It does not bother me if people wear a mask or chose not to. “A mask is like trying to keep mosquitoes out of your yard with a chain link fence”, some scientist said. I wear it to calm the fears of others but do not think they work. BTW, I caught Covid in August even with frequent hand sanitizing.

Vickie L Sanderson says:

Good day, fellow warriors. I have enjoyed reading the various perspectives and will add my own observations. I have noticed persons who hate the mask and only wear it during required events, persons who are genuinely afraid that the CCP Virus will kill them (is any fear I would have – lets say even the smallest spider – any less valid?) , and persons who love the established rule base and the ability to report violators (hall monitors). It is a very interesting time we live in and my journal fills up with all the shenanigans.

Tom says:

Well said! I agree 100% with your sentiments!
I see people walking their dogs with masks on and nobody near them and I shake my head in disbelief.

Joyce R says:

What interests me is that this has only become an issue with the Trump presidency. I do not recall any officials promoting mask wearing in prior outbreaks of relatively serious respiratory infections. Not for bird flu, not for swine flu, nor even for the deadly Ebola virus, and so forth. What bothers me is that as we have learned more about this “novel” virus, particularly regarding who are at greatest risk of serious consequences, so-called experts have done little to calm the unreasoning fear in younger, healthier folks that they and the media have spawned. I know I am at high risk because I am 68 and have several co-morbidities. I wear a mask where required, I wash my hands frequently (actually I always washed my hands a lot because I have two cats who are attached like spots on a June bug). But I think hand washing and using hand sanitizers probably does much more to keep me healthy than wearing a mask. There are thousands of viruses and bacteria that collect on masks and in masks that we would probably not be bothered by, but our exposure to them is increased by the warm, moist environments under our masks. Also, where does the masking end? Are we going to become fearful every time a new virus escapes China, or Africa, or Brazil, or our own Rocky Mountains? Enough. Here’s an idea – let’s eat healthy, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep.

Marcia says:

I wear a mask when I deliver Uber Eats from order pick up through delivery to my customers.

I enjoy reading your articles.

Anne says:

I have family living in Japan, where there is more concern for community well-being and less concern about rugged individualism than in my conservative state. My Japan relatives confirm my impression that mask-wearing in Japan is routine and was fairly common even before the pandemic. It has long been something that many people do when they have respiratory symptoms or are concerned about getting sick.

Meanwhile, in the rural parts of my state, mask-wearing is largely regarded as something for liberals and weenies. So far, there have been fewer covid cases in all of Japan than in my state, even though Japan has more than twenty times as many people. I just read a local newspaper piece about a rural farming couple here who got covid several weeks ago. The wife died, and the husband is suffering from severe long-term complications. Too much mask-wearing is at the bottom of my list of concerns.

Josephine Lyn says:

Frankly, what does it concern you if someone wants to wear a mask, no matter outside or inside, within 6 feet or more, etc. I should think there are weightier things to worry about, and who are we to judge? This post is a disappointment and waste of time to read.

Ndodana Sibanda says:

In my country Zimbabwe masks we wear masks because it is punishable by law. What is strange is that many wear them as under the chin or like an alligator leaving the nose out. Our essential service providers doctors, nurses, police, soldiers and politicians lead the pack.

Kendall Rodgers says:

People who say they have “caught covid,” how do they know they “caught covid”? Were they tested? Would they have know it was covid had they not been tested? How dangerous is a disease that you have to be tested to find out if you have it? Is it destroy the economy, social structure, and violate all the citizens civil rights dangerous? I understand some things about the covid practices and outcomes and I have not seen anything that follows basic protocol for any of the practices. My understanding does not come from the internet. I understand that people are scared, but I believe they are scared, because they were told a lie, and they believed a lie. That is scary. Corona is not.

David Peterson says:

There is not a single cloth mask that will keep out the virus. Almost all the effect of wearing a mask is psychological. This sort of response is what happens when Judeo-Christian thought is discarded for Humanistic Psychology. Fear and self-interest is the object of faith rather than the presence of God.

Anne H says:

I wear disposable masks, cloth masks, and the shields worn like glasses. Additionally, I work from home so I’m only in contact with the public when I get groceries, etc. Florida is “open for business but masks are still required to enter most establishments. Does it help? Does a placebo help? For the most part, I don’t wear any of them for myself since I am blessed to be a healthy adult taking care to boost my immune system. However, I have lost friends from both direct and indirect results of Covid-19. I wear face coverings as a way to respect those around me who might have an underlying condition but still must go to the store. I wear face coverings as a simple way to show God’s love to those who are afraid. It’s my humble way of saying that your safety matters enough to me that I will do this for you. And yes, sometimes I get busy or am deep in thought and forget to remove my mask/shield until I’m seated in the car. It’s more of a habit now. Get out of the car in public = put mask on. Get back into the car = take mask off. This way my mask doesn’t get lost nor do I risk dropping it when my arms are full of groceries. It’s really not a big deal. Honestly, I’m just happy to see people finally washing their hands properly.

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