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Do unto others…and wear the ^&* mask.

My mother was annoyingly familiar with this little gem of wisdom, and made my brother and I follow it at all times.

We are the kind of people who put the grocery cart back. We refold t-shirts we’ve opened at the Gap. We leave plenty of room for others when we park. We hold doors for people. We let others go first when we approach a door at the same time. We are never too loud or too much of a disturbance. We don’t get drunk in public (you save those shenanigans for the comfort of your own home). I live in a condo, and do my best to walk as lightly as possible so I’m not stomping on my neighbors’ heads.

Janielu always made us aware of our surroundings, and how our behavior might impact those around us. We are a part of the world, not the center of it, and growing up she reminded us of that on a near-daily basis. She was a very big believer in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

I lost count of how many times she said “It’s not about you.”

It wasn’t always what we wanted to hear. Sometimes, you just want to do things for yourself, and to hell with everyone else. We don’t know these people in the public. We don’t ever have to see them again. So what if we’re a little loud while they are trying to read? So what if I don’t put the cart all the way back in the rack? Aren’t there people who are paid to do those things?

Yes, and no. What harm does it do to make someone else’s life or job just a little bit easier?

People, and the general public, can really suck. I have a neighbor who parks next to me in a visitor’s spot, and TWICE she’s parked so close I’ve had to crawl in from the other side because I couldn’t open my door. I would never do that, but she clearly was raised by selfish jerks.

Speaking of selfish jerks, if you’re not willing to wear a mask out in public, YOU TOO ARE A SELFISH JERK. I have massive claustrophobia, so bad I couldn’t wear Halloween masks as a kid. I hold my breath in elevators. In fact, I’ll get off one if it’s too crowded. I hate pulling covers over my face in bed. I feel like I’m dying. It’s torture.

BUT I WEAR A DAMN MASK IN PUBLIC BECAUSE… THAT’S RIGHT. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME.

My parents are in lock down in Dallas because of this virus. No one can see them. I’m devastated at the thought of never seeing them again. What if they die alone before this virus has a vaccine? Marvis is healthier than Dad, but who knows when we’ll be able to see them again, face to face? He’s too far gone to FaceTime, and it confuses Marvis too much.

The longer these idiots wander around without masks, spreading the virus, the more likely that scenario is, and that breaks my heart.

It is not a violation of your civil liberties. It is your civic duty. You are a part of this thing called humanity, and right now most of us think you’re a jackass for not caring about the rest of us. You may not care what we think because you were raised by jackasses who didn’t care about anyone else. It’s not too late to undo your raising, as they say down here in the South, where cases are blossoming like crepe myrtles in June.

I don’t really care at all about what people do in their homes. That’s your business, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone or anything, and/or is between two consenting adults. I do care about what people do in public. The public spaces we share, the common causes of humanity we share, all of it. And whether you like it or not, you are a part of this problem. You can either be a part of the solution, or… well, no. There is no other option. Be a part of the solution. The sooner everyone plays by these rules, the sooner it will be over.

Put the damn mask on and shut up about it.

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