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.

 Meet the Mask Enforcers – Advanced Middle-Aged Moms

There’s a lot that has surprised me about people’s understanding and reaction to the coronavirus. Before COVID-19 I thought we were a fairly intelligent country.

More than 90 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have graduated from high school and almost 33 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have a college degree. In the history of our country we’re the most educated we have ever been.

Yet, in the midst of a pandemic we’re stupid, really stupid.

You need to look no further than the mask debate to realize that common sense and the most basic understanding of science has vanished from sea to shining sea.

Lord help us all when people think they can’t breathe with a mask on because of the carbon dioxide build up and yet in the same non masked breath say that masks are futile at stopping the coronavirus because the virus can permeate the mask.

Pick a lane. If a mask can trap carbon dioxide (which the mask you would wear to the grocery store cannot) then it can trap the COVID-19 virus which is 500 times the size of an oxygen molecule.

Also, for the love of basic brain function, ask yourself if all of the medical professionals that wear face coverings daily are perishing from a mask induced carbon dioxide toxicity? The answer to that is a solid no.

Honestly, I’m most disappointed in my demographic – the advanced middle-aged mom. Let’s get real here, we should be the smartest person in every room. We set the example for everyone else to follow.

We have years of wisdom. We’re savvy, resourceful, have survived parenting teenagers and have shepherded at least one child through the college admissions process and dorm move in day which means we’re resilient and battle tested.

But in person and on social media all I see are mothers fighting the mask mandates. I’m seriously perplexed. Women are the guardians of the safety and survival of humanity. Our “go to” is to be in a constant state of worry about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

In a pandemic you would think this demographic – the demographic that has their entire family geotagged via their phones for 24/7 tracking purposes (including heart and pulse rate) would be not just team mask, but team mask with a vengeance.

The AMAM’s (Advanced Middle-Aged Moms) should be all over wearing masks especially since we have a superpower – guilt which can be used for maximum mask enforcement. There is nothing quite as potent as mom guilt. It lingers and gets lodged in our children’s brains. It affixes itself to their very soul. They can’t escape it no matter how hard they try.  It’s like an omnipresent festering forcefield.

Joining guilt in our AMAM arsenal is shaming, cajoling, and throwing down the maternal gauntlet of assorted escalating threats. In the hierarchy of telling people what to do moms are the supreme ruler.

It doesn’t matter if your kids are technically adults, especially since the odds are at least one of them is still on your cell phone plan and/or you’re paying their car insurance, the advanced middle-aged mom has the authority to make their progeny mask up.

Sure, masks aren’t fun but you know what else wasn’t fun? Making our children use a car seat and then ride in a booster seat well into the fifth grade. But we enforced that rule and we put the classic mom spin on it  – “I’m making you do it because I love you so very much.”

We need to take that love and bring it! Advanced Middle-Aged Moms heed the call. This is our time. Our skill set has never been required more. It’s up to us to embrace science, to use that mom common sense that runs boldly through our veins and has kept our families safe. We are the stalwart leaders of Team Mask.

America we are coming to save you – one guilt trip at a time.

*I got my Snarky in the Suburbs mask at www.anniesbarn.com. The very creative owner is a friend of mine and she has a lot of unique masks and a bunch of other super fun stuff. Even if you’re not shopping for masks check out her website. It’s a snarky hoot!