Day 49 – Masks

I’m a marketer by day. I think I used to be a pure writer, whatever that is (maybe a threadbare poet in a cold water flat).

Now I sell things, but I’m almost certain they’re good things, if nebulous. I promote community, environmental responsibility, small business, regional consciousness. On my best days I advocate for the pure beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Today I was told that the chosen marketing euphemism for “mask” is “cloth face covering.” Lately, I’m helping local and statewide land management groups to tell hikers and fishers to follow regulations, lest the governor walk back his permission to play outside. We call it “messaging.” Recently I’ve felt more like a public health PSA guy than a marketer.

Please. Wear your cloth face coverings. C’mon, people.

I’m thankful that my target market (Seattle, roughly speaking) is considerate of these safety measures on the trailheads and in parks. No trolls far on the social media. I am aghast to see in the news that states like Texas are opening their economies even as C-19 rates increase nationwide by 2-4%.

I wish that Americans saw proper stay at home protocol as a team sport rather than some egregious trespass against individual rights. Or constitutional rights. Or whatever. When will the greater good trump (pun intended) our desire to get a haircut and sit in mostly-empty movie theaters with circulated air?

Today I’m feeling the weirdness and thinking about the weirdness. The uneasiness of Zoom calls — so intimate, where we can see into coworkers’ homes. I can see laundry sometimes, or children, or kitchens, or spouses. It feels voyeuristic.

Today I’m grieving that my daughter, an extrovert, has no kindergarten to attend. I’m wondering how I ever thought that I was a good homeschool teacher, or had time for it in my daily routine. My day is dominated by emails, chores, work. I don’t know where my professional, artistic, and persona boundaries coincide or overlap (speaking masks). I’m getting a lot of media requests, which is great — many artists are struggling right now and I‘m thankful for the exposure.

And it’s only rarely now that I remember The Before. Like, when I watch a movie and people on the screen are casually milling around on the street. It’s a sudden sharp pang of nostalgia. And then it’s gone, sucked up into the sunny numbness of Spring 2020. Well,that was then. And now is… unavoidable.

I’m thankful that my nerves have calmed somewhat in the past week. I read again. I listen to podcasts. I continue to wait. I read that an optimistic timeline for developing a C-19 vaccine is four years. I’m thinking about selling my second car and getting a cargo bike. I think about canning vegetables.

I put on my mask and go out.

“I like your mask,” says the Bartell’s cashier, from behind a plexiglass shield. She’s being sincere. She also wears a mask. I think what we’re really acknowledging is that we (total strangers) care about one another — enough to wear cloth face coverings.

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