Put your money where your mouth is and carry a spare.
Almost everyone by now has likely run into a “mask-shamer”:
- The woman who when she sees someone who is not wearing a mask walking 20 yards away in an open field in the countryside feels the need to walk close enough to be heard and yell “You should be wearing a mask!” , rather than simply walking by at a distance.
- The man on a bicycle on one side of the road who slows going downhill to shout at the couple on the other side of the road “Where are your masks?”
- The person who when they see a young girl, obviously embarrassed for forgetting her mask, in line for curbside pickup with her shirt pulled up to her nose, levels up the humiliation and snarls “Mask!”.
- The woman who seeing two elderly men sitting next to each on a park bench with their coffee cups in hand, opens her apartment window and screams “Masks in the park!”
Depending where you live, the self-righteousness of mask-shamers varies in aggressiveness, but here is one thing they all have in common: they assume the worst of people, their goal is not health and safety, but a gratifying sense of self-importance.
What if they assumed the best? What if they assumed that the people who so offend them just forgot? Or even thought they had a mask when they left home? My son puts masks in the back pockets of all his pants and somehow they do pop out in the dryer….
So if you are a mask-shamer or know someone who is, try this for the next 100 days: carry a packaged spare. The next time you are offended by a non-mask wearer, sympathetically ask “Did you forget your mask?” and offer your spare. It may be refused, but you will have made an effort to show that you actually care about other people and those who see you will no longer sympathize with the maskless the way they do now as they stare in horror as you strut your self-importance. You will become part of the healing process so needed to bring us all together to end the pandemic.