Lori Sorenson

Paisley facemask clashes with floral blouse, but message remains the same

On Second Thought

I returned to the Star Herald office Monday after a refreshing vacation in the crisp dry air of the South Dakota Black Hills.

The 80-degree, 70-percent humidity weather that welcomed us home was hard enough, but Monday was Day 1 of Minnesota’s indoor mask mandate.

I hate to complain, but it was a bit of a struggle, especially considering the outdoor breathing I’d grown fond of on the ATV trails.

My office mates greeted me through their masks with muffled words that I believed were, “How was the trip?”

“It was great!” I replied through my mask, which sucked in and out of my lips when I tried to be expressive.

I opened my notebook from last week’s city council meeting and instinctively lifted my index finger to lick it for faster page flipping.

My tongue met the inside of the cloth, homemade mask (thanks, sister-in-law Susie) and considered my options.

On this day I wore a two-layered tailored mask with a paisley exterior fabric and an interior pocket for extra filtering protection.

It fits nicely, but it clashed with the floral blouse I wore that day.

And, despite the thoughtful design, it had some limitations. As do masks of any design, really.

In addition to the whole page-turn finger lick thing, the face covering really got in the way of my coffee.

I removed it to take a sip, and then opted to go bare-faced until the cup was empty. “Is this allowed under the governor’s order?” I wondered.

And then I forgot to put the mask back on until a customer entered the office appropriately masked.

I quickly ducked down to put mine on, not unlike the Saturday morning scramble for a bra when a UPS delivery arrives early.

The mask was removed again for lunch, but I forgot to put it back on, until the next masked human reminded me. And then there was a mid-afternoon snack … and a late afternoon coffee.

By day’s end, I realized that my mask was off more than it was on. I vowed to do better the next day. 

It’s not that I’m opposed to wearing a mask; I truly believe it prevents spit and snot from getting into other people’s air space. And conversely, it keeps theirs from getting into mine.

And, as uncomfortable and inconvenient as it is, I believe it’s a matter of courtesy to wear it.

If not for the actual virus prevention, but for the message it sends:

“I hate this as much as everyone else does, but you do it for me, and I’ll do it for you. Along the way, we can hope we’re helping dozens more who may need the extra protection more than we might ourselves.”

Carry on, masked warriors.

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