As if it weren’t enough with the vax vs not vax, additionally, there’s the mask compliant vs mask refusal. Goodness gracious, things are starting to swirl out of control around here. Let me set the scenario.
I have a friend who owns a store. Her daughter is terrified of the virus as is one oof her workers. They’ve all gotten the shot. So my friend put a sign up asking the public to wear a mask in her store (so that they would feel more comfortable). She’s even put out free masks in case someone doesn’t have one. The majority of the public has abided by her request without problem. A few have come in and when they sailed past the obvious sign to “please wear a mask” one of the workers would gently remind them and the customers put them on. A few have balked at the ‘rule’ and left, but such is life.
However, a mutual friend is hotly against wearing a mask, citing governmental control issues and its inefficacy in protecting the wearer from the virus. She has ‘gone down the rabbit hole’ in conspiracy theories and is well-versed in what is being questioned. (Now I am not saying what is true and what isn’t. Nor am I throwing shade on her choice. In fact, I like to hear all sides of it so she shares with me what she’s learned and I find it interesting and even sometimes scary. But that’s another post for another day.)
So, mutual friend enters the store, sees the sign and stops in her tracks. She is not going to compromise her steadfast beliefs by wearing the mask. Store owner friend knows this and quickly tells her that she knows how she feels and she can come in, but stay where the public cannot see her unmasked. Mutual friend hides, but gets uncomfortable, but not enough to don the mask. The worried employee is unsure how to deal with the potential danger who’s unmasked even though they’re friendly and both know how each feels about the mask (which is completely at odds). After awhile, mutual friend leaves because this feels against her beliefs and she cannot understand how her friend (store owner) is not believing what she’s been telling her about her research in regards to the mask wearing.
And guess who ended up in the middle of this? Yup, me. Both came to me to tell about the incident. And while I understood both sides of the mask dilemma, and thank goodness I wasn’t there, they came to me because I’m not involved directly.
So I told them both what I thought.
To the shop owner, I told her that this was her store to request as she saw fit, but I also reminded her that the fear factor isn’t helping her own sanity. She already knew that and honestly, is only doing it for the comfort of her daughter and employee. She reminded me that she knew our mutual friend’s feelings on the mask and never demanded she wear one. She just didn’t want the customers to see someone without one in the store.
To the mutual friend, I told her that while I don’t like wearing masks, I abide by the rules when I’m out. (I don’t know if they help or hinder by the way, but again, that’s another post). Because of the friendship I have with our store owner friend, I always wear one in her store because that’s her rule. I do not feel that it is anything more than being kind to a friend – like taking off your shoes in a home that prefers it that way. So…for that, for the small amount of time that I am in her store, I don’t find it anything more than being a friend by wearing a mask and following the rules set by our friend, the store owner who is trying to help her family and employees feel safe.
Bottom line is it’s about bridging the gap between us and connecting instead of isolating, punishing and making others feel badly in these uncertain times.
What would you have done? Have you been in a similar situation? How do you feel about it?
Please remember to be kind in your comments. My intention is to help people to work things out so that all can feel safe with the world around them.