We think there was a difference this past week in the culture of mask wearing.

A few weeks ago, only half of the people at our grocery store were wearing them. And we still felt like we got looks from a few of the more uppity mask-deniers. The scoffers.

This past week, at our grocery store, we’d say about 90 percent of shoppers were wearing masks. And it wasn’t just a bunch of us improvising with whatever was handy – there were all sorts of people wearing all sorts of masks, from utilitarian to fashionable, from weird to wonderful.

And we didn’t get “the look” from anyone – in fact, the few people wandering around without masks seemed, by their body language, apologetic.

Part of my problem is forgetfulness. I wear a mask when I’m around people, then when I’m alone I take it off and put it in a pocket; and when I’m home it gets plopped on the desk ... and the next morning I forget to look at the desk and leave the mask behind.

Now I have extras in the car, at the office, on the shelf by the door.

Anyway, if we’re right about the percentage this past week and with the sort of enthusiasm for making your mask be a message, maybe we’ve turned a corner into an era where mask wearing, to do our part in battling the virus, is eventually just a given.

**

Mask etiquette: We were advised via social media that one cool thing about wearing a mask is that you can mouth any sentiment you wish at any time right in front of people. I’m skeptical about that because of two things:

– You may think your thoughts are silent because you’re silently mouthing them, but we’re becoming better and better at reading the eyes. I know how some of those looks translate. (Oh, what you just said to me ...)

– At our age, you could forget just about anything, including to actually not talk when you’re supposed to be just mouthing a sentiment. (Oh, what I just said...)

**

Encouragement: We all went a little crazy with the reopening. We mistook the opening of restaurants and barbershops for a dance party and did all sorts of socializing.

What the chaperones meant to impress upon us was we could go back to patronizing businesses ... but don’t go out if you don’t really have to; and if you do, remember to wear a mask and don’t touch, and stay apart.

We got together with family and friends and acquaintances and strangers and had fun and pretended everything was all right.

And then the numbers started increasing dramatically. More cases, more hospitalizations, a couple more deaths.

It’s a real thing, this pandemic. Now, hospitals and medical clinics are being swamped.

So let’s do our best to stay safe and let’s do even more to keep friends and family safe.

**

Impressed. We’re very sympathetic to all businesses affected by the pandemic – especially those that have had to make big changes in their operations to do less than half the business they should be doing.

But, that said, we’re proud of some of the innovating that’s going on in the face of hard times. Like the Happy Viking, one of our favorite places, transforming a back parking lot into a veritable outdoor cafe. And Yuba City and downtown merchants teaming up and deciding to close the street so all the Plumas Street businesses could move their business activity to the outside, to circumvent the shut-down orders. And D Street businesses moving out into the outdoors, too.

We’ll try to patronize those businesses that are both doing their part for the good of the cause and thinking outside the box.

**

Ugh: Pandemic-worthy Dad Jokes:

– My friend keeps saying “cheer up man it could be worse, you could be stuck underground in a hole full of water.” I know he means well.

– Justice is a dish best served cold; if it were served warm it would be justwater.

– The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

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