Why Aren’t People Wearing Masks? (A Rant)

It’s been a rough year all around. I could probably do an entire blog dedicated to that but that’s not what concerns me at this moment. Especially since I’m sure lots of other people are already talking about it. 

No instead, I’m gonna rant about masks mostly people who I see not wearing them.

For context, let’s talk about where I live. Now I live in Georgia, and there are a lot of rural very well spaced out areas in Georgia. There are towns so tiny you could walk their entire length in the time it takes you to tweet about how tiny it is. Georgia as a whole, is a HUGE state with lots of space and smaller population centers where it’s reasonable that you can probably go out and not see practically anybody around.

But that’s not where I live.

No, I live in what is commonly referred as the metro Atlanta area, which is the Atlanta city proper and several surrounding suburbs which were polled in 2019 to have over six million people. The area I live in has approximately 700-800 thousand people. Georgia’s current count for cases of Covid 19 overall is according to Google, 359 thousand cases. For where I live, the number of cases is about 23 thousand. That means, in the county I live in, one out of 159 counties, accounts for 15% of ALL Covid 19 cases reported in Georgia.

This is from September, the zone is still red.

And I STILL see people walking around without masks!

I should point out, this isn’t a new thing. Me being the proper little introvert I am has spent most of the year at home practicing social distancing. I was lucky enough to already be in the unemployment system before the pandemic and because I live with an elderly person I have been doing all the due caution so as not to spread the disease. But every so often I have to go out, usually I do so late at night to avoid the most people possible. However, it has been a consistent trend throughout the entire pandemic in my area in particular that no one is wearing their masks.

There are so many versions of this image, why aren’t people paying attention.

I should note, in this case, it’s almost never someone who has to be out, like someone working at a gas station or a store. It’s never someone who’s cleaning or bagging groceries, or moving carts, it is ALWAYS consumers. I haven’t found any common trends besides that, because it’s ALL ages at all times during this pandemic. I’ve seen groups of teenagers, elderly couples, middle aged, parents with children, all ethnicities, all genders have been united in one thing.

There complete and total disregard of the pandemic by not wearing a freaking mask.

What is WRONG with you people? Do you not see facebook? Do you not read the news? Is NOTHING getting through to you?

It’s not even people in open areas far away from each other without masks. It’s in CROWDED places, places where things are frequently touched, people bunch up and the businesses which are trying to get people to wear their masks by checking them at the door. It doesn’t work, these guys take them off after they enter.

Now you think this might be an exaggeration, that surely in places where they’re enforcing the masks people would listen. Nope, not at all, I know this because my mother in law dragged me to one of the most crowded places you could go to in ANY state.

A Costco on a Saturday.

You will never find a more wretched hive of disease and carelessness.

If you’re thinking I didn’t want to go to this, you’d be correct. This was in August, which while not the peak of the pandemic in the states, still VERY much a bad time to be out and about where I lived. What I saw could only be described I suppose as the collective stupidity of the common people, and the worst part was the Costco employees were trying their ABSOLUTE best to not make it that way.

I saw carts being wiped clean, people at the entrance and the exit checking for masks, and lots of hand sanitizer. I also of course saw, people crowded into the tiny aisles, families bumbling about with the kids maskless, people with masks hanging off their ears, with the masks not covering their noses, wiping their noses on sleeves, moving about MUCH too close for comfort, and the long lines where people were definitely not six feet apart, more like six inches. If you think that didn’t go well for me and my mental health, you’d be correct. It was the first time I’d had a full blown public panic attack since I worked retail myself. Thankfully I was allowed to retreat to the imaginary safety that was the car before we all went home. 

The only one of these I didn’t see at costco was the statche.

There is SO much scientific evidence and because of how POORLY the states in general have dealt with Covid 19 it’s still dangerous now for us to go out. Which makes me angry for so many reasons, but the main one was the total and complete disregard for the people in the retail industry.

Before all this, before Covid became the big thing, I was what they would call now essential. I worked in a grocery store deli mostly making sandwiches. I saw and personally dealt with people face to face in a very direct manner. Made to order food is one of the most detailed and people oriented jobs someone can have, and it was no doubt something that was declared essential because obviously SOMEONE had to make sandwiches for them. If I had still been in the industry when this hit it is EXTREMELY likely I would have been pressured to perform and deal with people who were carrying. Which means getting infected, which means infecting my husband who has a history of sinus problems and my elderly mother in law, both of which would likely DIE if they caught it and I don’t think I’m a minority.

How many people behind the counter do you think are living with or supporting elderly parents? Or spouses with weaker systems? Or children with things like asthma? You think all the people who bag your groceries or stock the shelves are single college students who can bounce back? Heck no, you know that isn’t true. Lots of retail workers are older, elderly, they have families, they are there because they CAN’T get money any other way. If they had better options, they’d TAKE them because the work is hard and oftentimes unrewarding because in the eyes of a lot of customers, customer service workers are not actually people. No, to a lot of people we garner the same amount of respect as vending machines dispensing services.

That’s why people not wearing masks pisses me off to no end. It is one thing to ignore a customer service personal, to just take the service and go on, but it is another thing when your lack of action ACTIVELY puts them in danger. All customer service personnel have to wear masks for the customers safety, but then I see people walk around without masks because what? It’s a little uncomfortable, a little stifling? Customers in these stores have to wear masks for at most twenty minutes, the people behind the counter have to wear masks for HOURS. But people won’t do it, they won’t be uncomfortable for a small percentage of the time for the sake of people who are uncomfortable ALL the time for their sakes.

That’s a face mask, a visor and gloves for what is likely hours on end of working to keep safe people who wouldn’t wear just one of them because of mild discomfort.

I wish, I wish, people would just take these things seriously but they won’t which scares me. It scares me because I have friends still on that side. It scares me because I’ve overheard the conversations of grocery store employees about how many of them have to disappear or quit because they got sick. It scares me and it makes me so angry, because we could have prevented this, we could have been better than this, other countries have proven this, other countries could do this. But somehow, we, who are well educated, well funded, well fed and with a standard of living that is very high in this world can’t suffer small discomforts for the sake of others.

This anger probably won’t go away because the people not wearing masks won’t go away. I’ll see them every time I must go out, and every time I’ll rage a bit inside.

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