This is a post about how I made myself angry this afternoon by counting noses on public transportation. As one does. Perfectly normal, right?
My husband and I are pretty—OK, very, very—careful when it comes to COVID-19 and PPE. We take calculated risks, sure, as evidenced by the fact that I was on the TTC in the first place, but these risks are, believe you me, extensively debated and ultimately assumed in the name of balance, i.e., getting through pandemic times while avoiding having a breakdown. And so yes, I’ve been going out, but I always wear a properly fitted N95 mask, avoid crowded spaces, and frequently sanitize my hands.
We’re fortunate to live in a city that requires that masks be worn in most (public) indoor spaces. I get, and respect, that there are medical exemptions. What I don’t get or respect, what truly infuriates me, is when a fellow transit rider dons a mask in a manner that leaves their nose and/or mouth exposed. I mean, maybe this is the all-or-nothing thinker in me, but I’d rather they ditch the mask entirely. Why go through the motions if you’re not going to protect yourself and those around you?
I swear I’m not usually grumpy about noses. I’d describe myself as being pretty neutral about them, generally speaking, and on the average day, I have no reason to disparage them and the hard work they do for us. However, people are typically remarkably good about following the rules, which leaves me free to simply appreciate the role the nose plays in human anatomy. But there’s a dark side to the nose, one that was on full display this afternoon on the streetcar, where much to my horror, without even craning my neck I could see six—yes, six—bare noses, their flickering nostrils mocking my attempts to ignore them.
This is where I practise radical acceptance, spend some time visualizing properly fitted masks, remember that the only behaviour I can control is my own, and apologize for the nose-themed rant you just read.