I drove to pick up free school meals for my kids the other day and from a distance I saw two people hug. As I got closer, I noticed it was more than a passing hug; it was an embrace that had something extra behind it. I wondered what it was. Relief, sadness, gratitude, or maybe solidarity? I will never know, but I burst into tears when I saw the body language behind something so simple yet so powerful. I know that kind of contact, and I miss it.
I thought of a recent visit with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and had to pull back the instinct to hug her because of the need for social distancing. Then I remembered the last time I hugged my partner who lives 1,400 miles away. It was nearly four months ago. In February, we didn’t know it would be the last time we would hug or kiss for an indefinite amount of time. Not knowing when it will be safe to travel to see my partner sucks. What makes it worse are the dipshits who refuse to wear a mask, further dragging out this deadly pandemic.
Whether you believe we are still riding the first wave of the pandemic, or are seeing the second wave hit because of the country reopening, the CDC and epidemiologists say that wearing a mask will slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. Yet, too many people don’t give a fuck about anyone but themselves and, thanks to them, I and many others can’t see our loved ones.
I miss my partner a lot, but unfortunately, making a good, safe decision on travel depends on the fuckers who won’t follow the simple rules of preventing the spread of COVID-19. And lest you think I am making this about just myself, I am making this about everyone who is missing someone they love right now. Parents who split custody or even parents separated because of work or travel bans are missing their kids because they can’t fly. Family members and friends are separated by distance and the ignorance of people who willingly don’t want to protect others by wearing a mask when they leave the house. Folks who are either immunocompromised, or who love someone who is sick or elderly, can’t take the risk of socializing because their ability to be responsible is only as good as the asshats who wear their stupidity instead of their masks.
So instead of getting to see the people we love, we get to watch jackasses fill beaches, parks, and bars because they are either selfish or stupid. Probably both. At the very least, they are certainly privileged to have not had to see someone die or struggle with being infected with the coronavirus.
It’s really hard for me to feel sorry for the big babies who think their rights and freedoms are being taken away when they are asked to wear a mask or—gasp!—required to wear one in certain settings. People seem okay with the “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” or “No Pets Allowed” or “Reserved Parking” signs. No one is taking away your ability to shop or dine, have pets, and/or park your abled-body pretty fucking close to your destination even when abiding by these basic rules. Wearing a mask isn’t taking away your freedoms or violating some idea you have about consent — it is actually giving you more freedoms to work, socialize, get that haircut, and save lives.
We are the ones sacrificing time and connection with loved ones, doing our best to calculate risk and judgement of others while Chad and Karen are sending invites to No Mask Day because people want their ‘freedom’ back. I wish wearing a mask wasn’t a political statement, but here we are, and apparently it’s the snowflake left who are “making” people wear a mask.
Listen, no one is making you take your cholesterol meds either, but I bet your doctor suggested it because you need it and you take it because you want to live. A mask is like that. It’s funny how these folks are able to support the face coverings of KKK members, yet a swatch of fabric meant to literally save lives is too much to be bothered with.
If only the folks who I imagine shout, “Give me liberty or give me COVID!” had a leader to guide them away from their foolishness. Both Pence and Trump (who hypocritically claim to be ‘pro-life’) refuse to be publicly seen wearing masks, and Trump continues to deny the severity of the pandemic while placing the economy and his ego over the health of people’s lives. I can’t keep up with all of the stupid things he says, but most recently Trump said, “If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any.” Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it actually go away, but try telling that to the people who would rather put their lives, and the lives of others, at risk than wear a mask. They think this has all been a hoax, so I should take my conspiracy theory and scram.
The number of cases of COVID-19 are still rising and it feels like the gap between my partner and me grows wider with each asshole’s uncovered, coronavirus-denying, breathing mouth. But if people do the bare minimum to protect themselves and the lives of others, we can all benefit.
It’s not selfish for me or anyone else to want to see the person or people we have been separated from. It’s not selfish to ask or even require everyone to wear a mask. It’s literally for protection. Like a seat belt, a condom, or umbrella. Or like your stupid fucking guns you cling to.
Wear your mask or shut the fuck up about being “pro-life”, claiming that all lives matter, and that LGBTQIA+ people don’t deserve equality because we are on the highway to hell.
Wear your mask so that people can finally hug the people we love and so you can continue to hug yours too.