I’ve ridden every day in the past two weeks, more than 150 miles. All of those miles I’ve worn a face covering. I’ve worn it not because I think it’s going to protect me from Coronavirus, but because it just might protect someone else, if I happen to be infected but asymptomatic. Simple as that. And, incidentally, scientifically proven to work, while we’re on it.
I encounter probably a dozen or so people in a 12-mile radius from my house on my daily rides. In two weeks, I may have seen a handful in total also wearing some kind of face covering. It might not even reach half a dozen.
These are my neighbors. They’re out, exercising, walking, taking their kids on a ride or on a stroll, chatting it up with others. Practically no one wearing a mask.
In March, when I started wearing a kerchief over my face while I rode, I garnered double-takes and curious looks as I pedaled along. Then, in April, I saw that most I encountered were wearing something over their faces too. My kerchief was no longer novel, and no one gave me a second glance.
But now, at the end of May, I get looks of derision, people internally or outwardly scoffing at me as I ride. And I’m again the lone human covering his face.
We’re nearing 100,000 dead from this virus. In just about two months. And let’s keep in mind that most of the country has been on lockdown most, if not all, of that time. This virus is no joke.
I happen to have a child with a severely compromised immune system, which, admittedly, makes me more sensitive to these things. But nearly everyone you meet has an elderly parent, or a child with a weak immune system, or a cousin with severe asthma, or an uncle with coronary disease — something that puts someone they know and love at risk of dying, should they contract this disease.
That’s who your mask is for. That is who you’re protecting. Do you want to be the one who offers up the pox-filled blankets to them? Do you really want to be responsible for that?
It’s a piece of cloth — a piece of cloth you wear for a few minutes a day, a couple of hours at most. That’s all. It might keep someone you love alive. And maybe it’s a stretch of your empathy, sadly, but it may also keep someone you don’t know alive.
Cover your face, and let’s ride on.