Face mask dilemma!

Let me start with a confession. I have a face mask problem!
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with wearing face masks for protection. Hey, I say screw the mask on to my face for safety reasons if it protects more. My problem is different. Let me explain.

Few months ago went for grocery shopping at local supermarket. Normally either me or wife go alone to shop to reduce risk of infection and follow social distancing guidelines. This time we went together in fully masked glory, probably due to a long shopping list and thinking a divide and conquer approach would reduce time spent in the shop. We head to the produce section. I stop to take a look at some vegetable. Have a question for my wife. Assuming she is nearby I absentmindedly turn in her direction and ask her what I wanted to. Imagine my surprise on discovering it was a different lady, with a jacket and similar face mask on, I was talking to. πŸ˜„ My wife had moved on to a different aisle. Told my wife about what happened. She laughed and said “You sure are going to get thrashed one of these days” πŸ˜‚

Having learned my lesson I decided no more shopping trips together after this one. πŸ™ Made some other adjustments too. To avoid mistaken identity in future shopping, shopped with head strictly down focusing intently on produce or whatever product I was buying. To further avoid identity mishaps if I noticed someone with face mask who looked even remotely familiar I would move my shopping cart to a different aisle. Seemed to work fine a few times as I avoided bumping into anyone who I might know even a bit. I don’t want to appear rude by turning away from someone I might know. But I would rather avoid the mishap of thinking the stranger in front of me is someone I know. Running away to a different aisle is not a foolproof solution though. What if I am moving the cart in an aisle and find myself smack in front of someone I seemingly know. Well, that’s what happened couple of weeks ago. I saw a person who, behind her face mask, winter cap, winter coat and physical structure resembled a family friend. Feeling confident I waved my hand from a distance. To my horror she did not respond by waving back. Apparently was not the person I thought I knew. I beat a hasty retreat to the other end of the shop, as far away as possible from that aisle. 😒

I now find myself facing a face mask dilemma: to wave in recognition or not when I am out shopping once or max twice a week. Look, it could be a case of me thinking everyone with a face mask on looking the same. But what if the other person is also having the same problem of not being sure who the person in front of them is. When this thought occurred I had an eureka moment: The problem is not with face masks per se but the fact the material they are made of is opaque! πŸ’‘So, I thought how to solve this problem that might be affecting more people that we might imagine. I outline my solution below.

Those tasked with health safety measures should issue a “face mask transparency” mandate. πŸ‘ What will that entail? While covering the nose and mouth fully the face masks should be made of transparent material so that face is visible for the most part, including the nose and mouth, only hiding the face along the contours of face mask. You might say “Well, so what? I don’t see it as a big deal”. You couldn’t be more wrong. Issuing a transparency mandate will do wonders to our image of transparency around the world. But that’s not all! It will spur innovation and create more local jobs for the new standard for face masks while promoting safe practices. πŸ‘Œ And for those single, lonely ladies who are looking for that right someone they can be sure that the person they are meeting during these lonely times is the right man-date. 😊 In one fell swoop correct identification, safety, innovation, local production and employment issues will be addressed. πŸ‘
What more can one ask for? πŸ˜‰

Author: Rajaram 'Raj' Gopalan

Hi All, Welcome to my home in cyberspace! You can call me Raj. Feel free to explore, discuss, comment and most importantly have a good time!

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