Wear a mask to save lives - and face - Janet Christie's Mum's the Word column

Wear a mask and save lives, and face
Mum's the WordMum's the Word
Mum's the Word

I’m going about my business, out and about, smizing at people to indicate ‘hello’, ‘thanks’ and ‘cute dog’, taking up as little space in the world as possible in order to slip through the cracks, just trucking along until...

“I’m really not happy about you breathing all over me,” says a woman that I admit I may have breenged a little too close to.

“Oh I’m sorry,” I say, because we are indoors.

“You’re not wearing a mask!,” she says.

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“I am wearing a mask,” I say and lift my hand to my face to demonstrate it with a ping.

Ah. No I’m not. Which is weird because when I left the house I was definitely wearing a mask. For a nanosecond I entertain the thought I may have eaten it while listening intently to my podcast, although that seems unlikely, but reminds me of Eldest’s joke when he was small about the woman who dreamt she was eating a cloud and when she woke up her pillow was gone, which in turn prompts Middle’s ‘Where do the Chinese keep the terracotta army? Up their terracotta sleevies?” I smile because I like bad jokes.

Not good. The woman is still there and now I’m smirking as well as being mask-free. She’s looking more annoyed, which is fair enough, so I retreat, patting myself down for masks - I usually have several stashed about my person, but not today.

Not good. Apart from the obvious (Covid ‘n’ that) it means all my emotions have been written large across my face, not hidden safely behind my mask as I imagined. And since over the past year I’ve got into the habit of labrador eyes from the mask up, while curling my lip and mouthing insults at nippy people who’ve clearly grown tired Being Kind from the mask down - concealed by the facial equivalent of Spanx, tongue-y control if you like - I’m surprised I’ve not met more indignation among my fellow citizens.

“Should have said you’re exempt,” says Youngest later. “My friend’s exempt, although one time she got refused onto the bus for not wearing a mask.”

“How come?”

“She didn’t see why she should explain and there was a disagreement, so she had to walk home, lol.”

“Why not just explain? Or better still, wear a mask? Makes life easier. I swear by it.”

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