The other day, an acquaintance on Facebook posted this:
“If only people could see the advantages of wearing a mask. Not related to the novel coronavirus. You can stick out your tongue at rude people; you can mumble comments to people not following the arrows in the grocery store. Those are just a couple.”
This same acquaintance ended his disgust with people not wearing masks in public with “What is wrong with people?”
The great and horrible thing about the novel coronavirus is we, like Cyndi Lauper, are seeing our citizenry’s true colors. But unlike Lauper, I don’t love the true colors I’m seeing across the fruited plan of this once beautiful and prosperous land.
It’s possible that I don’t even know the beauty of this country, having been born about 125 years (more or less) after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. But I have trodden through the grainy sand of Georgetown’s Reid State Park, hiked Camden’s Maiden Cliff, and eaten a lobster roll in Eastport. I have been to beautiful places in other states, too. True, I have not traveled as much as I could have in my middle class life. Because I like being at home.
And now I’m stuck at home; all around me, almost everything is pretty ugly.
The best part of my days are the text messages from friends about meals and recipes. And sometimes they listen to my occasional cries into the digital wilderness. Like yesterday. I asked a friend if I could share “something mean.”
“Go for it,” she texted.
“I would not object to the masks so much if everyone didn’t already look like slobs. If they wore pretty dresses, with matching masks, gloves, and hats…that would make it more bearable.”
(That’s little me on the right, stylish at an early age thanks to my mother.)
I can see a smart Lily Pulitzer dress with a matching mask and some opera-length gloves. Maybe a pair of matching Jack Rogers sandals. I might be able to tolerate that. But our world has disintegrated into an amusement park, with everyone walking around unwashed in their pajamas. And mumbling venomous comments through forked tongues under their homemade masks.
Before the novel coronavirus, the same Facebook poster I opened this essay with was a person who might rail against bullying, reminding others to “be kind.” Funny how he’s become a mask bully now.
My fellow Americans…I see your true colors. And they’re pretty ugly.