Masking for a Friend

Lake Union, Seattle

a change of quaranscene

Now that working from home will be my daily routine for the foreseeable future, I’ve been trying to be more active on the weekends. My friend Meghan recently bought her own foldable kayak and we made plans to spend the day out on Lake Union. Even though I’ve lived here for over a year, I feel like I really haven’t taken much advantage of exploring my city.

However, I’m still feeling conflicted about going out like this during a global pandemic. At the time of writing this, Seattle is in Phase 2 of the reopening process. Limited social gatherings with five or fewer people outside your household are allowed with other limitations on bars, restaurants and gyms. When I starting writing this post, I didn’t know exactly what I was going to write about, but as I put in the photos of our outing, I realized something. Not pictured are our masks. We did wear them during the rest of our day, just not while we were out on the water.

As someone who strongly advocates for everyone to be wearing masks, practice social distancing and limiting non essential activities, therein lies the rub. Wearing a mask and social distancing is 100% what everyone should be doing right now in order to reduce, if not eliminate, the spread of COVID-19. However, the choice to not wear a mask while kayaking seemed fine because we weren’t anywhere close to another person for the entire two hours we were out on the water. We had masks on when we arrived at the dock and while we got ready to launch. As we returned to the dock, we put our masks back on. Although, when I look back on these photos, I have a nagging feeling that we should’ve had them on the entire time. Not because we were at a high risk, but because the image of us, out in public seemingly without one, is not the image I want to put out.

Using My Platform for Good

Fortunately, the majority of my friends understand the need for wearing masks and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others from spreading this deadly virus. I am very vocal on social media about my desire for everyone I know to wear a mask and it seems that I have cultivated a following that generally agrees with this sentiment.

Unfortunately, the majority of my family don’t. I’ve had countless arguments with my mother specifically on her position on this entire situation. She is absolutely convinced that the number of infected people is being manipulated/inflated and that everyone will/should catch it because it’s “just like catching a cold”. Not to mention that she doesn’t like wearing her N95 mask because she can’t breathe in it. I should mention that she does not currently know anyone who has tested positive, thus is unaffected.

You know that objectively there are people who are willfully ignorant and stupid but then when you see such blatant proud stupidity on display, especially by someone you know so personally, it’s rough to watch. It’s okay to be distrustful of the media and news. It’s okay to be skeptical of stuff but just to have blind hate towards the opposite viewpoint because it doesn’t align with what your viewpoints are is just ridiculous. 

Thankfully, after a conversation with my European father, I did have a little more faith. We discussed the differences in the culture between the US and Belgium and how Americans prioritize individualism over the collective. It’s clear that countries with stronger sense of community were able to flatten the curve and recover from this virus much quicker than we have. It’s not even a political thing, it’s literal facts that when other countries implemented stricter rules and stuck to them, people stopped getting sick. It doesn’t take that many people to undo all of the progress we did make. However, the US is now right back to where we started in terms of case numbers because either states reopened too quickly or didn’t have strict rules in the first place.

I don’t really know where to go from here. I just hope that we as a country can set aside our differences and look at this virus logically and see that wearing a mask when you come into contact with others will lower the rate of infection.

It really is that simple.

TLDR; Wear a mask

Thanks for reading & Drink more water
-Ri

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