Embracing the Incognito Freedom

I’m on a mask roll. Yes, I realize that I recently wrote about masks so let’s call this “Masks – the Sequel.” I feel it is my duty, nay let’s make that my calling, to continue to highlight the upside of wearing masks that go beyond the obvious of saving lives.

True confession – I’m one of those people that, at first, hated wearing a mask. It felt very claustrophobic to me and my reading glasses fogging up was not a thing of joy. But, because I’ve been a parent for 24 years I consider myself a master of being able to turn that frown upside down.

This means I’ve eagerly looked for all the reasons why I should love wearing a mask. At first it was challenging and then I experienced what I’m going to call my profound mask moment.

I had been at the city pool swimming laps and was on my way home when I realized I needed to stop at the grocery store for a few items.

Now, normally after swimming I would not venture into any establishment. I would go home and change and then head back out. This is because after I have gone swimming I look like I have been swallowed whole by a sperm whale and then after getting half-way down the whale’s esophagus the creature thinks, “Yeah, maybe I am too full,” and then forcefully regurgitates me back out into the world.

But, then I remembered that I would be wearing a mask and if I kept my sunglasses on no one would recognize me. So, did it really matter that I looked like rejected whale chow? I came to the resounding conclusion that it did not.

I, cloaked in mask and sunglasses, proudly strolled into the grocery store. Well, maybe proudly is a slight exaggeration. It was more like I kept my head down and tried to get in and out as quickly as I could because did I mention I was wearing a swimsuit cover up?

My only moment of panic was when I had to take off my sunglasses and put on my readers to decipher a spice label. The divesting of my shades left me feeling exposed.

In the Murphy’s Law world in which I reside this is when I would see one of a handful (a rather large handful I’m afraid) of people I spend my life aggressively attempting to avoid.

Number one on that list is a certain elementary school PTO board member that back in the day I had a bit of a kerfuffle with. (It’s a long story best suited for another time. But details aside suffice it to say the incident still festers like an eternal cold sore.)

Well, well, well, guess who I see at the grocery store? Yep, that woman walking towards me with her cart. I quickly ripped off my readers and yanked down my sunglasses that had been perched on the top on my head.

It was then as if everything was happening in slow motion as my brain ran through various scenarios. Would the number one person I never want to see recognize me? Should I run and hide in the frozen food aisle? Do I abandon the cart and bolt for my car? Do I open my purse and stick my head in it?

Miraculously, literally a gift from the heavens, she just walked right by me. Masked and sunglassed up I was unrecognizable. My relief was so potent I got giddy in the spice aisle. It was then and there I celebrated the mask and its gift of sweet, sweet, incognito freedom.