Subtitle: I wear the mask, part 1
I wear the mask. For two reasons. I have not evidenced the symptoms most reported as indicative of having been infected by the coronavirus and testing is not readily accessible where I live. So, is it possible that I am an asymptomatic carrier? Yes. Thus, whenever I venture out, I wear the mask as a conscious act of care for others.
The following vignette is illustrative of the first of two, now, typical occurrences when encountering others.
I was scheduled for an outpatient procedure. Heading to the front door of the hospital, I followed an older couple (mid-late 70s), walking slowly, holding hands. I thought to myself: How lovely.
We ended up in the same medical suite. They to my left, at the now requisite six-foot distance, were being registered, as was I. I looked up and noticed that the gentleman was looking, glaring at me. He frowned, and then stepped around the lady, whom I presumed was his wife, placing himself between her and me.
Many times, I have had this experience, which always presents the conundrum of not knowing for certain what is in another’s mind and heart, thus, not knowing for certain what message is being sent and how I am to read it. Nevertheless, having had this experience many times, I have a wealth of history and a depth of memory that provide an interpretive lens, which, living in America, perforce I must employ and through which I look for the sake of sense and safety.
No one (no, not one) is free of prejudice. I am not (and, depending on the subjects, perhaps I have more than my share). Yet, in this incident, which, as the gentleman and I were strangers to each other, I did not take personally, I was reminded afresh that racial bias is an indelible aspect of the human condition.
One day, I may not live to see it, but one day, I remain hopeful that my daughter and all in her generation and after will not need wonder, much less worry about whether they are being viewed negatively by others.