A Coronavirus Chronicle #13

Subtitle: I wear the mask, part 2

Previously (A Coronavirus Chronicle #12, Subtitle: I wear the mask, part 1, May 26, 2020), I wrote that although I have no symptoms of the coronavirus, it is possible that I could be an asymptomatic carrier. Therefore, I wear a mask as a conscious act of care for others.

Of the two, now, typical occurrences when encountering others, the first, about which I wrote heretofore, being racial bias, the second has to do with smiling.

To smile is to share with others an identifiable and a non-threatening sign of attention, appreciation, affection, or admiration. Even more, the smile, as an outward and visible sign of an inward affability, has a sacramental essence. I like to smile (and to laugh, but that’s a subject for another post).

Wearing a mask presents an obvious problem. So, especially when encountering strangers, I’m learning to employ an expanding combination of gestures – the widened eyes and the wave of a hand of recognition, the nod of the head of respect of another’s God-given human dignity, the use of the voice, “Hello,” especially in the upper tenor range of cheerfulness, and, yes, still with the now masked smile.

© 2020 PRA

2 thoughts on “A Coronavirus Chronicle #13

  1. Paul,

    I appreciate this post so much. I’m very used to my masks at this point but what I really miss is seeing the smiles of others and sharing my smile with them.

    You raise such a great point about adding just a few things to our interaction with others to indicate / confirm that we are smiling. I am still not going many places at all, mostly to the grocery store once a month, but when I do… I linger a bit when getting my bags and receipt and thank the person for waiting on me in an effort that they will be able to feel my smile even if they can’t see it behind my mask.

    Much love!


  2. Life, surely, truly, has changed. The pandemic has made us homebound recluses (save for those who chose to brave large gatherings with little to no observance of physical distancing). And I can’t recall when I last offered my hand and shook another’s hand (I suppose it had to be sometime in late February). And masks have become a new health (and, I suppose, depending on the design and color, fashion) accessory.

    About masks. One other thing (and perhaps I’ll write about this). When meeting someone new who happens to be wearing a mask, I find myself wondering what s/he looks like. For I can’t tell. I also have found myself wondering about that olden adage: Eyes are the windows of the soul. For what I’ve come to understand for myself is that if/when I see only your eyes (and, thus, not your face), I have little perceived sense of you as a person.

    Yep, life has changed.

    Be well. Stay well.



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