This year, being polite requires being a bit forceful. As I have said from the beginning along with most people I know, there is a no-mask zone around me. Under no circumstances, directly or indirectly, will I be the reason you are required to cover your face. Breathe free, friends.
That said, there are many people who support wearing masks. We have to have a way of dealing with it consistently. My responses all year to even an allusion to mask support have been harsh. I have even been harsh if I perceive a failure to actively resist. After having had time to cool off, my only regret is not having done more to resist.
Being a divisive subject, I have decided the best course of action is active listening. Therefore I will directly quote the mask support I have heard and repeat it as best I understand it.
Active Listening 1
Mask supporter: “Masks are polite.”
What I hear: “Cover your face – and I don’t consider it impolite to tell someone to cover their face.”
Very well. You’ll be safe. Don’t come within two meters of me.
Active Listening 2
Mask supporter after I suggested that businesses post whether they require masks or not: “Of course businesses can post a requirement for shirt and shoes, ‘no shirt no shoes no service,’ but masks?!? … Obviously the government has to step in and mandate that everybody wear masks in public.”
What I hear: “My fear and belief in masks trump a business owner’s right to operate with open faces. Cover your face.”
Load and clear. Don’t come within two meters of me.
Active Listening 3
Mask supporter during a discussion about the various prevention measures: “Come on man. Masks aren’t political. It’s science. Of course governments have to require masks.”
What I hear: “No discussion. We have all agreed that all security trumps all individual rights. Cover your face.”
Loud and clear. Keep your distance from me.
Active Listening 4
Mask supporter admitting that outdoor masking is probably a waste: “OK yeah, they probably don’t do anything outside, but we need to show we’re all together in this.”
What I hear … ? “Join my cult. We cover our faces everywhere. Cover your face if you are near me. My government will require it.”
I’m a bit confused to be honest, but you said it. Keep your distance.
Active Listening 5
Mask supporter relating mask wearing to health codes in restaurants: “So you believe people should ignore the mask mandate, which is a health code, and not wear masks? Isn’t that a slippery slope of people not following health codes?”
What I hear: “I think I’m clever. Cover your face. My government will require it.”
You are a real threat because people will buy that line if the TV says it.
Active Listening 6
Mask supporter: “Science says cover your face.”
What I hear: “The TV says cover your face, so I do.”
Take your “science,” your science, your TV, and your mask, and shove them all up your ass … and keep your distance from me.
Having considered, the following categories apply for me:
People who actively respect a human being’s right to show their face while interacting, including whatever “risk” is involved: I appreciate your friendship more than ever.
People wearing masks. Depends who, where, and why.
People who fail to actively resist masking: I strive to be stronger. Writing about it is a form of resistance, hope this helps.
Any indirect support for any mask mandate: you are a mild threat. I am actively planning to avoid falling victim to any government you vote for.
Direct support, any enthusiasm for masking, or any in-person social pressure to wear a mask, even out of a perceived sense of duty: I will do my best to maintain two meters from you for the rest of my life.