COVID is over, at least if you shop by us. Now that the indoor mask mandate has been rescinded in Illinois, us masked folks are in the minority now walking around inside stores. I’m conflicted. I know wearing masks is uncomfortable for people, but since we’ve been masking these past 2 years, I have been extremely healthy. Even though I am a well-conditioned (Editor’s Note: False) athlete (Editor’s Note: False) who competes (Editor’s Note: Rarely) at a highly competitive level (Editor’s Note: Very False), I have historically suffered from respiratory illnesses almost like clockwork every winter. Well, not the last two masked winters. I guess I can keep on masking, but there’s also one other issue.
There is a large store by us where I can get a little shopping done while also doing my business banking. And it is so large that I can get a nice long walk in if I walk the inside perimeter of the store a couple times which I do in the cold weather for a change of pace. With everyone masked in the store, I never worried about letting loose with a bit of gas from time to time as the need arose while walking. The ambient noise level in those stores is generally high enough that any toot less than a real cheek flapper is normally not noticeable. And with everyone masked, nobody could smell any of my rippers. It was perfect, but now that masks are gone, people’s olfactory systems are on high alert again.
So, I want the mask mandate reinstated, basically so I don’t get sick and can walk around stores healthy and farting. Am I a bad guy?
I know the world is sick of Covid, and everything is opening back up, despite breakthrough cases of Covid continuing to take the lives of double-vaccinated people who thought they were safe. I’m slowly trying to safely head back out into this weird, new, masked Covidy world. I recently went to an outdoor football game, and I went to a basketball game in a big indoor arena. I felt safer outdoors at the football game, but the seats at the basketball game were positioned in such a way that I felt okay about being there. But indoor restaurants? No, thank you. I’ll take the food to go.
I enjoyed safely meeting with friends over the summer at restaurants with outdoor patios. But last night, it was below freezing out, and I was scheduled to have dinner with friends. What do we do? We decided to head to a place with an outdoor patio that they wrap in plastic and keep cozy with overhead and tableside heaters. Even better, live music was scheduled for last night.
They looked fun and upbeat with an indie-artist vibe to them, sort of a cleaner-cut version of the Strumbellas from Canada. Take a look and you decide.
I had a morning coffee meeting with a local Republican government official this week. It was a beautiful morning, clear and crisp, so I decided to bike there. There was only one big problem … my masks are in my car. I was halfway there when I realized that I was maskless, and Illinois has an indoor mask mandate. Uh-oh. I began to consider what my Plan B and Plan C would be.
I decided Plan B would be for me to signal to my meeting buddy to come outside, order for me, and we’ll sit outside. Except, I couldn’t recall exactly what he looked like. That could be a problem. I knew he was an older white male. Shocker for a Republican.
Anyway, I felt like I needed a Plan C. It turned out to be this …
I was invited to the Chicago Bears home opener this coming Sunday by a rich friend that takes pity on me from time to time and invites me to various sporting events to sit in very good seats and eat very good food. I was flattered by the man-date invite, but also torn and took a day to make the decision. On the one hand, I want to go to the game and don’t want the man-date invites to stop. On the other hand, COVID! I would be one of 60,000 plus people in Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday. I really wasn’t sure of what to do.
I was leaning toward going, but maybe upgrading my choice of mask. There is now a mask mandate in Chicago, so I would need to mask up when I’m in enclosed areas at the stadium. I thought I should get one of the fancy N95 or KN95 masks for upgraded protection over my normal cloth or surgical mask.
I met a couple much less rich friends for brunch on the day I needed to make the decision about going. One of my friends told me that he went to two Chicago White Sox baseball games unmasked, and it was fine. Still, I felt I needed a sign, and boy, did I ever get one.
As we were walking in the parking lot, I looked down, and this is the sign I spotted.
No, I’m not talking about the government-ordered shutdown of businesses. I miss going to concerts and sports this year, but come on, let’s flatten the COVID-19 coronavirus curve.
No, I’m not talking about government-mandated mask wearing. If you don’t wear a mask, you’re an idiot. Hmm, let me restate that so you idiots will understand better. If you don’t wear a mask, your an idiot. Subtle, but appropriate difference.