Respecting our fellow human beings… by wearing masks!

Mitch and Meredith had planned two summer vacation getaways for the summer of 2020.  The first was a trip to Italy which had been planned and scheduled for the summer of 2019, but was cancelled due to a family health emergency.  Due to COVID-19, Italy became a victim again in 2020.  Mitch and Meredith had also planned a long weekend in Nantucket.  Nothing long, nothing extravagant. Just a few days away.  They had spent a few days in Nantucket in 2019 – a short getaway after their family health crisis concluded.  The 2019 trip had been their first trip ever to Nantucket.  They loved it and were determined to get back there.  

So, as their planned Nantucket weekend approached in 2020, they were torn.  Being from New York, a state that now had COVID-19 in a good place – at least at the moment – they were concerned about pushing their luck.  They did their research and made their phone calls.  Massachusetts, and Nantucket specifically, was also in decent shape with the virus and were welcoming visitors from New York. 

However, when reading and watching the news – stressful activities in 2020 for sure – Mitch and Meredith kept hearing about people protesting the wearing of masks.  Protesting that somehow, wearing a mask, which on the surface appeared to be an act of being considerate of the health and welfare of others, was an infringement on their human rights. Mitch and Meredith had planned on flying from New York to Nantucket rather than driving since it was such a short flight from New York and they didn’t want to spend a big chunk of hours on a long car ride.  The flight would be a very short one.  They only had a weekend plus two days and they wanted to enjoy every minute of it in Nantucket.  Mitch, the pondering type, kept asking himself, “Was any of this a good idea with the virus impacting so many people?  Would mask-rejecting Americans create undue risk to him and to Meredith?”

OK, detour time… back to Mitch and Meredith in a moment. 

Imagine a person, let’s call him “Harry”, visiting a loved one who was unwell. That loved one might be a child, a parent, an infant, a best friend… someone suffering from a lung disease, or someone who was immunocompromised due to cancer or chemotherapy, or someone who had a transplant and was taking immunosuppressive medication to keep their transplanted organ healthy and protected.  Harry is about to visit his unwell loved one in their home or even in a hospital. They ask Harry to please wear a mask, to keep his distance, to wash and rewash his hands in order to protect their health and possibly their life.  Would Harry say no?  Would Harry declare it his right to not protect his loved one’s health because it was an inconvenience to him?  

We are living in a global pandemic.  So, in fact, EVERYONE is at risk of carrying and contracting infection, which makes EVERYONE a health risk to their fellow human being.  So, the analogy about Harry and his loved one applies to everyone.  Why are people treating it differently?

It is with this backdrop, a backdrop where Harry might just refuse to wear a mask, that Meredith and Mitch were thinking about flying to Nantucket.  Hmmmmm. Sounds like a risky proposition.

Can you imagine the surprise and shock Meredith and Mitch found on their way to, during their time at and on their way back home from Nantucket?  Every single person wore masks in public.  Every… single… person!!  The taxi drivers, the airport workers, the hotel workers, the waiters, the waitresses, the grounds crew, the people walking in the street, the people waiting to be seated at restaurants.  There were a few people who had difficulty breathing with face masks… so they wore face shields!! There were people who were terribly concerned about their health, especially on the airplane.  Those people wore face masks AND face shields AND gloves.  No one protested.  No one pointed.  No one muttered.  Mitch and Meredith enjoyed a few, relatively safe days away from home.  More importantly, they enjoyed observing human beings being respectful of one another.

Meet Mediocrity is not a politically based community.  I’m not labelling people, assessing leadership behaviors or interpreting Constitutional law.  There are plenty of other places to find points of view on those things.  Meet Mediocrity IS a health and wellness community.  AND, it is a community that is based on “ordinary people, helping ordinary people be their extraordinary selves”.  Frankly, that all starts with respecting your fellow person.  I am not naive and I am not a Pollyanna.  I am well aware that respecting your fellow human being can come with all kinds of conditions and opinions, but at its surface, it’s not that difficult.

It is highly likely that respect for our fellow human beings and achieving equality in human rights will always have a lot of room for improvement – at least during my lifetime.  Nonetheless, I’m going to continue to advocate for wearing a mask, respecting your neighbor, doing unto others as you’d have done unto you.  If you like that perspective, even as a temporary respite from your everyday life, stick with Meet Mediocrity.  Join our community and help spread the word.