Naked and Afraid in New Jersey – Mask-free and Feeling Very Strange
This is not a mask vs. no mask debate. I'm genuinely feeling really uneasy about not wearing a mask in public because it seems that I'm in the minority.
It started the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend. It was about 12:15 am and I needed to make a stop at Wawa. For the first time since March 2020, I walked into Wawa and breathed in that glorious Wawa smell. It was a nice feeling to not have to wear a mask. It's worth noting that I'm fully vaccinated.
When I looked around and saw the Wawa employees still wearing masks, I wasn't surprised. I figured that this would be the norm for time being. I didn't expect every other customer to be wearing a mask. I felt awkward waiting for my sub. And to be honest, I was getting some looks. But, New Jersey was mask-free for only 15 minutes at that point, and I thought by sunrise 95% of people would be sans mask. I was wrong.
I feel it necessary to make it crystal clear that I do not judge anyone that is currently wearing a mask in public. It's important for all of us to be respectful of others' decisions to wear a mask. After all, we don't know if the person behind the mask is immuno-compromised, a cancer patient, or just feels more comfortable. That is perfectly fine.
What makes me uncomfortable is that I seem to be in the minority not wearing a mask at stores. Target, Shoprite, Freehold Raceway Mall. In all of those places, the folks wearing masks outnumbered the people not wearing masks like myself.
Am I missing something? All of these people can't not be fully vaccinated by now, right? After I heard when the Governor kept New Jersey as one of the last states to keep the mask rule in effect was "enough already," "this is ridiculous," "I can't wear this thing anymore."
So, yes, I feel weird not wearing a mask when the majority of others are. I'm still choosing not to wear a mask unless I enter a facility that requires one. Again, I'm fully vaccinated and still keep a reasonable distance.
It got me thinking. Will there always be a part of New Jersey that wears a mask from here on out? I going with yes. Once winter rolls back around and cold and flu season is rearing its ugly head, will we all mask up? Possibly. To be honest, it's really not a big deal when it prevents you from getting sick. Then again, we have to make our immune systems work a little. I digress.
Do you find that there are more masked people in New Jersey stores than those who are without a mask?
Health and happiness to all. And let's remember to respect one another whether they have a mask or not.