I’m sitting on a plane to London now. I started the trip wearing a mask. I’m no longer wearing a mask. The girl next to me isn’t either. The girl across the aisle is. It’s weird, isn’t it? To mask, or not to mask?
I flew from LAX, and the intercom in terminal 7 blared out that it was required to wear a mask while you were in a terminal, and yet, maybe only half, probably less than half, were wearing masks. No one made anyone else put a mask on. My Uber to the airport still required a mask, so I had one on ready to go when it pulled up. But when my driver got out of the car to help me with my luggage, he wasn’t wearing a mask, and don’t put it on until he was back in the car and driving.
So what’s the right thing to do? I had a mask on until I got hungry, and started to snack. And then it was too uncomfortable to sleep in, so I kept it off, and then, when I woke up, it had been off for so long already that it felt pointless to put it back on.
Signs everywhere still say masks are required, and I always do a double take and feel guilty about entering a masked place without a mask as I no longer carry one around with me everywhere anymore. But no one’s stopped me. No one’s asked me to put on a mask, except perhaps in a theater where you sit indoors next to the same people for an extended time. Which is also true of this flight, but masks aren’t required.
Just a couple months ago, I had spare masks in all my bags, in my car, in my house, everywhere! And now, they seem to have vanished. They’re no longer permanent fixtures in my life, but the pandemic is still ongoing. Covid still affects my life in unobtrusive ways. I still get tested weekly when I go to work. Officially, masks are required at work, and yet, no one really cares if the masks have vanished. Everyone’s just tired of having to think about masks. I know I am, and yet, I can’t help that niggling in the back of my head that tells me that I really should put that mask back on, because what if monkeypox? What if another yet undiscovered disease?