Life Matters with LINDA PETERSEN

Who knew we would need facemasks?

The Cranston Herald ·

This Halloween reminiscent game of wearing masks has grown old. Masks now dangle from many rear view mirrors, joining the graduation tassels or the Rosaries. I had plenty of masks, 8 or so, in my car UNTIL my son took my car and decided to play Good Samaritan by handing them out to his friends who did not have masks. I shouldn’t complain because it showed I raised him to be kind and care for others, but it also left me unexpectedly mask-less during a recent foray into the community. I had arrived at the store to shop and fumbled around looking for one of my many masks, only to panic because none could be found. With the car stripped clean of masks, I dug deep into my purse and there was a very cheap, thin paper mask curled up in a ball. I dug it out, smoothed it as best I could, (although it was going every which way,) and put it on. The elastic immediately broke, providing more fuel for my panic. Fortunately, I was able to squint and tie it into a knot in the little hole and then tentatively put it on. Success! It lasted for that one shopping trip, and immediately broke off when I returned to the car to return home. Fate? Spiritual assistance? Luck? Whatever the reason, I was thrilled to have found that paper mask. (However, I dare not ask the question about how effective that thin, paper barrier could have been.)

When this whole pandemic began and I was still in a tizzy about what to do, a pleasant woman came up to me in the Dollar Tree parking lot. She handed me a plastic bag complete with masks, gloves and antibacterial lotion. It was a Godsend at the time because my son, Steven, was just undergoing evaluation for spinal surgery and we were back and forth to the doctors. The rest of the community had not yet popularized masks, so my son and I were at the forefront of the trend thanks to that one thoughtful woman. (Thank you, whoever you are!)

Since then, of course, masks have become mandatory when out and about. They are even talking about me returning to work wearing a mask full time, a dreadful thought. Wearing a mask for more than a half hour seems too daunting. I begin to hyperventilate with my closed in breaths. God BLESS the nurses, first responders, store cashiers, fast food chain personnel and anyone else who has to wear them all day. Having limited fresh air to breathe for the whole day is a huge sacrifice they make which I appreciate immensely, for I couldn’t do it.

With the prospect of having to wear one all day, a vented mask that recycles the air found its way into my Amazon shopping cart. Hubby said that those should be saved for the very people I mentioned previously, but somehow my finger slipped right onto the button to order it. Oooops! I will gladly give it up if a nurse or first responder needs it. Heck, I’ll even order a large supply of them for the hospital if they need them…anything to enable me to selfishly wear a mask that will allow me to comfortably breathe all day in the office. Okay, Kent Hospital, how many do you need? 20? That I can do. 250? Definitely out of my price range. 2,000? Oh, what a moral dilemma!