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Full disclosure: I’m a mask skeptic. A mask denier. I am not, though, a mask refuser. If a business establishment puts up a sign that says “mask required” or, better, “please wear a mask,” I’ll do it without too much grousing ’cause that’s me, I’m a giver. I carry and, as required, wear a mask for the same reason I carry a leash when I walk my German Shepherd Dog. I don’t need the accouterment in either case, but if I can prevent anyone feeling ill at ease with my actions, I will. Did I mention yet that I’m a giver? Yeah? Okay, drivin’ on.
As we’ve navigated this pandemic, I’ve seen indicators and warnings (term of art, in my previous life) that we’re all getting played across the board by this pandemic reaction and mitigation efforts. What I am saying is not that there should be no mitigation or protection efforts. I’ve stated my preferences of the start point for protecting the vulnerable before, and early on in this grift.
I’m definitely not a medical professional, but I’ve received and maintained (mostly) some extensive medical training. In first aid ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation…) I at one point was good to go up to “J” (insert J-tube into chest). Also, I’ve had some extensive CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive) training, including “live agent” training. I’ma tell you what, you want to pay attention during class on how to ensure you stay “clean,” take that class knowing that you’ll soon be in a chamber full of Sarin nerve agent, watching a poor, staked out caprine do the kickin’ chicken. It indeed focuses the mind.
Too, I’ve been married for at/about 137 years to The Lovely And Talented Mrs. Mongo, AKA Supernurse. So through osmosis on her journey as an Army CASH operating room nurse, Labor & Delivery nurse, open heart nurse, and clinical risk manager, I’ve become an inadvertent expert on a lot of random medical stuff, to include sterile procedure, infection control, and personal protective equipment.
Still, I’m not a pro, so salt my anecdotal observations and conclusions therefrom to taste.
Hurricane Isaias (ridiculous name, why you makin’ things harder than they need to be, NHC?) was barreling up the coast last weekend thru this week. We were supposed to be having some time off at the family beach house in Topsail Island, NC. Some back of the envelope crisis planning indicated that we’d better hunker down here in the Keys. However, our youngest daughter, call sign DEMON SEED, was flying in on Saturday with three girlfriends to have a lovely week at the beach. I’ve known these kids for years, love ’em all, even Demon Seed. So, I went ahead and flew out to make sure they were good to go during the storm. And to rent a car for them, since if you’re under 25, you may as well buy a Rolls as rent a car.
I transited Ft. Lauderdale Airport, to Charlotte, to Wilmington. As usual, I spent most of my time watching people, not my phone.
Whether you believe in masks, this whole “mask up” situation is useless.
More than half the people I saw had their mask pulled down below their nose, so they could, I dunno, breath.
You don’t have to wear a mask when eating or drinking, so if I’m just sitting in a seat, reading my kindle, my mask must be on. But if I’m eating a grinder from Jersey Mike’s I just take the mask off. No problem, no violation of “the rules.” Hello? Do y’all not know how transmission works? “Y’all” being the powers that be that wrote these ridiculous rules.
Many people pulled their masks down to their chin in order to be better understood on their phone–while they were walking through the terminal.
I saw a group of stewardesses meet in the middle of one of the terminals I was in. All were masked, but big hugs and air kisses and “I haven’t seen you in so long” s. Mm-hmm. Safety first, ladies.
Encouragingly, I didn’t see any babies or toddlers wearing masks. Hopefully, some parents have done the reading.
“Social distancing” is a joke. Despite whatever markers on the floor, it seemed to me that the Great American Public has decided that, in a crowded airport line for Burger King, Einstein Brothers Bagels, or Jersey Mike’s, the appropriate social distance is about 10 to 15 inches more than what most Americans consider personal space.
Once one sat down to wait at one’s gate, there didn’t seem to be a problem with just taking one’s mask off, eating/drinking, or not. Saw all kinds of Joe Biden “just let the mask flutter off one ear” practitioners.
As stated, I think this whole “wear a mask” phenomena is a scam, a hoax, a grift. Have you seen our precious mainstream media pushing out tech-specs for masks that will actually protect you or protect others from you? Me neither. The number of people walking around with pull up neck gators that just make them look like a circumcision gone wrong, but do nothing to protect those they come in contact with, was legion.
[At this point, I should note that we rode out the hurricane with no problems. At/about 2200 we started to experience hurricane storm effects. I had to sign off of the AMU and make sure the girls were good to go. Of course, they were. They had decided to play various and sundry drinking games thru the storm. I, of course, am way to mature and responsible to join in on that sort of sport drinking…not.]
Seeing what a sham all this mask-wearing and social distancing is had me on a slow boil. This is idiocy at a grand strategy level.
The American Airline’s warning pronouncements only served to stoke the fire. “Your nose and mouth must be covered except for approved activities. Failure to follow these instructions could lead to you not taking this flight, or future flights, on this airline.” Thanks, sphincter notches.
I got first-class, round-trip tickets for a great price. Of course, once I was told that “all food and drink services are suspended” I figured out why I got such a great price (full disclosure, TL&TMM got my tickets, I suck at that kind of thing and never really think about using mileage points to better my in-flight experience). Still, the bigger, wider seat was nice. Although, the fact that a drink cart would not be slamming into my shoulder due to the suspension of services mooted the win, a little.
[The announcements about the suspension of services included declarations at the gate that stated that if you wanted food or drink during the flight, buy it in the terminal and carry it onboard your own self. But, according to federal regulations, alcohol not procured on the plane is not allowed. Demon Seed and her crew were having none of that. They boarded their flight with a plethora of jigger bottles stashed about themselves, plus Gator-Aid, Smart Water, and flavored nonalcoholic seltzer waters as mixers. I guess they got a wee rowdy. Once the stewardess’ figured it out, as the lovely ladies partied on, the stewardess would do a drive-by and confiscate their drinks. At which point the girls would check to make sure the coast was clear, and mix more drinks. Their uproarious enjoyment of the flight led to a young lady of commensurate age making snide comments that our little bevy of princesses were sure to hear, which led, apparently, to an epic “Hey, Karen, bite my tooshie” rant from one of the girls. I mentioned I love these kids, right?]
I was at a low, rolling boil by the time that I took my final flight from Charlotte to Ft. Lauderdale. Plus, I was also vexed with the knowledge that my bird landed at 1700, and then I had to drive from Ft. Lauderdale to the Keys. In my car. The car that doesn’t have air conditioning. If you haven’t done a drive like that in that kind of traffic, you don’t even want to know.
So, maybe I was brooding a little bit. Maybe my brow was furrowed and I was kind of grinding my teeth a little bit at what I’d seen of our current societal silliness and in anticipation of the vehicular gauntlet I was going to have to run to get home. Then that guy made an appearance.
I was sitting in the last row in first class. Across the aisle from me as a well built black guy who had the foresight to bring a sub sandwich on board, and the patience to stand in the (non-social distanced) line to get it. In the seat next to me on the window was an American Airlines pilot. Even in his mask, he looked pretty nebbish. He was carefully going through different airplane specs on his tablet, and making manual notes. I want that guy as my pilot.
My low boil got a spike. The guy in the first row of economy, across the aisle from me was a classic 305 area poseur. Masked, a white V-necked T-shirt, skinny jeans, some type of popular, white leather sneakers. Dude had that hairdo where the sides were clipped close, but the top was overlong and mega-gelled.
In a simpering voice that, 10-15 years ago would’ve meant that he was a very queenie homosexual, but these days just means that he’s a male of a certain age from a certain area, he FaceTimed a confederate.
“Well, they say there is a policy, but it’s, like, totally unenforced. Look, there’s someone without a mask, and there, too. Can you believe it? Oh no, I’m taking pictures and I’m documenting all of this.”
Okay. On the one hand, I get it. It’s kind of what I’ve been complaining about. The airline has a (useless) policy, the exceptions to policy are kind of nebulous.
On the other hand, this simpering, self-impressed, self-important git who has never done anything productive in his sorry life is delivering pronouncements on people that just want to get from point A to point B, and the airline that wants to facilitate that in the face of zero good decision-making data.
This little twinkleberry pushed all of my buttons, as I listened to his monologue. I counted to ten. I did my self-control (and tactical) breathing. Four-count in, four-count hold, four-count exhale.
The black guy with his grinder across the aisle was tensing up. The masked pilot next to me was obviously aware of and taking umbrage at this douche-canoe’s comments.
Okay, breathe again, man.
My fingers drummed on the armrest. I ran through courses of action and thought about the most likely outcomes and most dangerous outcomes and how to mitigate both (I’m such an Army geek). Also, Mongo has learned through trial and tragic error to lance the Rage Boil early. The more the tempests of temper build, the more likely that my chosen course of action will be inappropriate and excessive. I know that. Breathe 2-3-4, hold 2-3-4, exhale 2-3-4. Ahh. Calm. Nope.
I turned in my seat, pointed the blade hand at the masked pretty boy, and said, from the diaphragm with the blade hand-chopping to emphasize each word: You. Are. A. Wussy.
Of course, the word I used wasn’t wussy, but you get the idea. Twinkerbell put his phone down and looked away, not a peep from him the whole rest of the trip. Black dude with a sub gave me head chuck, the one that means not only do I agree with you, but I’m with you if there’s any fallout. The nebbish-y pilot dude got really into the specs displayed on his tablet.
The rest of the trip went fine. Even the traffic on the way home was good.
We need to end this mask/lockdown insanity.
It’s useless.Published in