Good intentions unmasked by peer pressure

As we’ve watched another rise in the number of COVID cases spurred by the highly contagious Omicrom variant, my wife and I have begun wearing our masks again in most public situations. Stores. Church. Thunder games.

I’ve been feeling pretty smug about myself in my new KN95 mask purchased on Amazon.

However, sometimes my good intentions have turned into a total failure.  I wrote about one incident that happened on a road trip last year.

Let me tell you about a more recent instance.

Last week, I was invited to the launch event for a new Oklahoma City business publication. It was a great event in which about 100 or so people attended. 

The event was held at a co-working space on Main Street downtown. I arrived shortly after 5 pm, parked on the street, put my mask in my back pocket and promptly forgot about it before I walked into the event.

I immediately ran into several people I knew and took a few minutes to network before the scheduled program began. None of my acquaintances wore masks, but I wasn’t thinking about that.

As I was chatting with someone, I saw a friend of mine who is in the public relations business walk in. She was fully masked.

Then it hit me, I had my mask with me, but had never put it on.

I was proud of my masked friend, but ashamed of my own lack of conviction, I guess you call it.

I wasn’t practicing what I’ve been preaching.

Was it absent-mindedness, bowing to peer pressure or misguided confidence that my vaccinations and booster shot have made me bulletproof?

I’m pretty sure it was peer pressure.

Because of the Omicrom variant, COVID is racing through our population, both here in OKC and nationwide. None of us are bulletproof.

We all need to do better. I need to do better.

Masked up and feeling smug during the pandemic

I’m a devout mask wearer. Throughout this pandemic I’ve read and listened to the scientists, who are a lot smarter and more educated on the topic than I am.

When I’m out, whether it’s picking up takeout at a restaurant or a prescription at the pharmacy, I’m masked up.

I’ve probably got the same smug look on my face beneath my mask as you see on Prius drivers. I’m sure you’ve seen them looking over at you in your big ol’ SUV wearing an expression that lets you know they are trying to save the planet while you are destroying it.

So, I found myself in northwest Arkansas over the Labor Day weekend, driving back from a couple days in my mom’s condo in Branson. We stopped for gas and food at a popular place outside of Huntsville, Ark., called King’s River Country Store.

My wife put on her mask and went in first to get some food and bring it out to the car. As she came out, I grabbed my mask and got out to go see what the place offered.

It was really crowded inside, but I was pleased to see most everyone followed the “mask required” sign on the door. I poked around for a few minutes, then picked out a sandwich and some cut watermelon.

The woman at the checkout counter could not have been nicer. I paid for my food and walked out.

Then I reached to take off my mask and was horrified to discover that I was not wearing a mask.

Nothing but stubble on my face.

But I saw it as I neared the car. There, on the pavement outside the car door lay my mask.

I felt about 1-inch tall as we pulled out of the parking lot and headed out of town, no longer wearing the smug look of a mask devotee.