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Pickle Me This

July 5, 2021


In February, with infection rates rising, along with new variants whose increased transmission rates were still not understood, plus cold temperatures that made potentially infectious droplets hang in the atmosphere longer (and made face coverings very practical due to facts of chill), I got in the habit of wearing a mask every time I left my house.

This was especially important since I live in a densely populated area, and every trip down the sidewalk necessitated close encounters with my neighbours, because distance wasn’t always possible. And the shift to wearing a mask all the time was a deliberate and considered one. I’d been wearing a mask every time I took my kids to school and picked them up since September, but that was because I wanted to model this behaviour and take responsibility as the parent of children with the privilege of attending school in-person. I had resisted masking as a reflex, however, because it didn’t make sense from an infection control standpoint and also I don’t like being told what to do. I was going to wear my mask when it made sense to wear a mask—indoors and/or when I was in close proximity to others.

But in February, masking outdoors made some sense, and so I shifted my habits, and so it’s been ever since, but I’m trying to quit now. With infection rates falling in Ontario (170 cases today! There were more than 4000 daily cases in April…) and vaccine rates climbing (I am two-weeks past my second shot on Thursday!), masking to walk down the street seems less necessary, especially if I am keeping to less busy routes.

It’s too easy to become entrenched in one’s habits, which makes little sense in such a dynamic situation. But one’s habits become a comfort, of course, and can stand for security, and so it takes a bit of courage and thoughtfulness to keep evolving as everything else does, but I am determined to do so, so I don’t become that nutty woman yammering on at the Farmer’s Market about what Dr. Fauci was saying about masks in March 2020, if you know what I am saying.

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