A friend texted me the other day, trying to understand why people refuse but get so angry about wearing masks. He could not understand when there is conclusive evidence that masks help prevent the spread of disease, and people are dying. My response was quick, "It's not that remarkable. Stay with me here…" He kindly waited for my next text—a text which I will elaborate on now.
People of all ages do things every day that put their lives at risk in one way or another. Although we all know that smoking raises your risk of cancer, there are still plenty of smokers in the world. There have been warnings put on the labels, laws to make it more inconvenient, and even ad campaigns created to show people suffering from the adverse reactions of smoking. People may have loved ones that died from lung cancer or may also be hurting themselves. People still smoke.
People have unprotected sex with the conscious and unconscious thought "it can't happen to me" and forgo using any birth control despite having the knowledge and access. The inconvenience or discomfort does not outweigh the risk in their mind.
People choose to speed, not wear seat belts, not wear a bike helmet, eat raw cookie dough, and go on and on. It is human nature to justify our feelings on many subjects, even regardless of facts or statistics. People choose what they want to believe for their comfort. It's not that remarkable. We all justify our actions every day so that we can live with ourselves.
Soon after I got my license, the law for wearing seatbelts in New York state passed. I was not too fond of seatbelts. I am short, and they never sit right. Most belts cut across my neck and annoy me. As I said before, we justify our feelings on matters despite facts and statistics to make ourselves feel better about our decisions. Especially choices that might go against the grain. My justification for seat belts was that I am not putting anyone else in danger if I chose not to wear a seatbelt. The only life I am putting in danger is my own, and it should be my choice. Some people like to take risks. Some do not; my lack of seatbelt doesn't put you in danger, so no one is affected by my decision except me. Even with this explanation, I would have people yelling that I was "stupid" or "selfish" to feel this way and not wear it. My reaction would be anger and a more firm determination that my decision was right, and I was sticking to it. When we are angry or feel threatened, we aren't always logical. I wear my seatbelt, begrudgingly.
The feeling of wearing or not wearing masks is no different. People will fight for their side with passion. We can all agree with masks, in general, are uncomfortable and make many people self-conscious. I haven't met too many people who are happy about wearing them. I don't particularly appreciate wearing them. We need to remember that this is a "for now" not a "forever" thing. No one would argue with their doctor to not wear a mask during a surgery. They wear them for your protection as much as for their own. That is easy to wrap our heads around. It is not taking away any of your freedoms by making you wear a mask., no more than it infringes on your freedoms by making you wear clothes. The fact is that if two people are close and both are wearing masks, even a poorly made mask, the chances of either person getting infected drops exponentially. Just like the doctor in surgery, it is for your protection as much as others.
Instead of complaining, I avoid situations in which I have to wear them. That is my solution. However, when I must venture out, and especially if the establishment requires it, I wear one—no yelling or screaming or causing a scene. I wear them. It's for now, not forever. I wear a mask for the people I love and those I don't even know. I don't like it, but for now, not forever, it is safer for everyone if we wear them. We don't have to like it. We have lost so many lives already. Have some patience; keep your distance. Wash your hands. And if you have to be in close quarters with others, wear your mask. For now.
Love Lots; Smile Often