Wearing a Mask (or 2) Again!

Masking up again! Even with 2 vaccinations.

Here it is the end of August 2021. A year ago, I was an unvaccinated senior citizen. I would venture out of my apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan wearing 2 masks, with a face shield in my bag, just in case. If only there could be a vaccine, I thought.

And then there was a vaccine.

My second Moderna vaccination was on February 13, 2021. I’m about to begin the 7th month into my vaccine efficacy. Recent news reports suggest that it’s dropped significantly from the 90% or so of protectiveness I might have had two weeks after the second vaccination. At 8 months, I’ll apparently be eligible for a booster.

With that waning effectiveness, I’m now pulling out my pile of masks and, once again, wearing them. A lot. I’ll often wear two in any indoor setting (store, doctor’s office). Yesterday, I even put on a face shield over two masks when I rode on a NYC bus after the driver allowed a maskless man to board and remain unmasked for his 20 minute ride. People glared at him but he was indifferent. No one had the courage to tell him to wear a mask, such is the fear of mask rage. When I got home, I sent a complaint to the MTA about the incident and they responded saying that they “would notify the NYPD”. Good luck, I thought.

So here we all are. To quote the famous Yoga Berra line. “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

My Chin Mask

My Chin Mask

From March 2020 until a few weeks ago, I would see some people in New York City wearing the infamous “chin mask” and quietly steam. That seemingly pointless mask practice irritated me beyond words. Most of us learned from news stories about people who commented on mask-wearing practices (or non-mask-wearing practices) and were then needing to recover from punches to their own faces or worse. So I took the prudent way out with those idiots and adjusted my own mask more snugly.

Now, with mask requirements falling away in New York City, many of us are breathing outside air again with no masks. I can’t even begin to say how wonderful it is to smell the grass and plants in Riverside Park. Of course, that’s the maskless outside walk.

What about inside? Most stores I walk past here still have mask signs in front and, honestly, even if they didn’t, I couldn’t imagine walking into any without a mask over my nose and mouth. But what do you do with it while you’re just walking around outside and until you go into a store or building? Why, you wear it on your chin, of course.

Getting on a NYC Bus Again!

As many of us come out from our pandemic cocoons, one positive thing to some out of this past year is a heightened appreciation of some of the mundane things we likely took for granted.

Experiencing some of these very basic routines back in the world after I’ve been vaccinated has really been a wonderful experience. I had made very brief forays into a supermarket in Manhattan a number of times this year, but, now vaccinated, I didn’t feel the need to wear a face shield over 2 masks and be finished shopping in under 10 minutes. I actually strolled around the aisles pushing a shopping cart. I didn’t bother with the face shield over my 2 masks. It felt so liberating.

The other re-enactment of my past life came when I got on an M5 bus a few days ago. Once again, the experience was so much nicer than I can ever recall it being.

Friends I know have certainly been freer about going into supermarkets or riding mass transit this past year. But since I hadn’t, revisiting these past basic experiences felt positively delightful.

Like everyone else, it will be incredible when more of New York City is vaccinated and we really do go back to our pre-pandemic lives. Until then, though, I’m savoring the rediscovery of so many of my former routines.