When I caught myself complimenting staff members of my school for their masks, I knew we were in deep trouble. Every time I am able to detach my mind from my body and watch our interactions, it freaks me out the fact we are all wearing masks. This morning they brought a student to the library because he needed something to be explained in Spanish. I knew the kid well but I didn’t recognized him. He had gotten a short cut, was wearing a hat, and of course a mask.
When I went skiing at night with some teachers, I have to ask them for their names. Even though I have met them in school, all of us vaccinated felt comfortable not wearing masks outside. I couldn’t tell for sure who was who, unless I knew them pre-Covid.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was dreaming of having a cloth mask. Just any one. I didn’t like to use disposable, I still don’t like it. Plastic has become the king during the Covid era, and I am finding masks on the ground more often than I would like to.
Eventually somebody in the school brought several masks made by his mother. They were colorful, and with strings that you can tie on your back of your head. I grabbed one, and became the mask to wear for special occasion. Since we were still not allowed in the school building, I didn’t have to use masks so often. When we return to school, I realized I needed at least 5. They started to pile up. One was too small, one too big, one made my ears sticking out like crazy. I bought some online, and some were given to me by a crafty friend. Still, none of them were perfect. They fogged my glasses; they fell under my nose; I lost them when taking them off since I was alone;the designs didn’t match my outfit; and the most glamorous were expensive.
Eventually one day in Walmart, I found a set of five black cotton masks, with an adjustable wire on the nose for 5 bucks. What a deal! We were in Montana, and I needed several of them. They ended up being my favorites. When my son and daughter visited us, they asked for one, since they, like me, have a tendency to lose them and also like the black ones. Eventually I was down to only one of my favorite mask. Tired of trying, a week ago I bought a package with 10 of them.
To be honest, now I love wearing my masks. I don’t need to think if they are matching my clothes or not. They are black. I just grab one in the morning when I am half awake, and put it in my pocket. No brainer. When I enter in the school building, the masks cover my everyday more wrinkly neck with the bonus that they are warm during cold days. After lunch, I don’t need to worry that a piece of food is stuck on one of my teeth, and make a fool of myself in front of students. When I cough, well, you know. A little bit disgusting but at least I am not spreading germs. When I read out loud, I don’t spit saliva. When I am upset or sad, nobody notice it since they can’t see my watery eyes from 6 feet apart, and my curved mouth is in disguised. And I haven’t gotten sick the entire winter.
Teaching these days is like attending a masquerade ball. I decided to go as Zorro.