I’ve come to realise that it was a lot easier to get used to wearing masks again than it was to get used to not wearing masks. The last time my city went into lockdown, it was mandatory to wear masks in hospitals and medical centres, as well as in workplaces where it was not possible to “social distance”. Having been through this before, it was easy enough to go back to that routine.
Once the lockdown was over, masks were no longer mandatory. Hardly anyone wore them anymore, but it felt so weird to walk into the building at work not wearing one. I’d approach the glass sliding doors in the morning, and the thought would occur to me that I didn’t have a mask on, and my hand would automatically move to my bag where my mask was kept, and … hold on, is the lockdown really over?
I had to glance around me at other people also not wearing masks to reassure myself that I wasn’t breaking any laws by not wearing a mask.
I just think it’s strange how I got used to it so quickly, and then going back to what I’d been doing for the vast majority of my working life was harder. Such are the times, I guess.
Sometimes when I drive somewhere, and I’m stopped at a red light, I look in the rear-view mirror at the people in the car behind me. Most people are very “normal” with blank expressions, sitting still, just waiting to keep driving; but sometimes they’re a bit more animated, and it can be amusing to watch, even just briefly.
I’ve seen one man swaying side to side, as if dancing, while his passengers sat motionless. I’ve seen people fidget and bite their nails and play with their hair. I’ve seen one-sided conversations, silent couples, and people who don’t seem to stop talking.
I’ve even seen a crying passenger (and a driver who was trying to console him). And then there was the couple who looked like they’d had an argument, and were decidedly not talking to each other.
I find it interesting how people can feel very protected in cars, like it’s a private room completely detached from the world around it. There’s something about being in a car with a close friend that just feels safe (which seems ironic considering how dangerous cars can be). It seems to be a good chance for meaningful conversations, particularly if you’re driving along a familiar route or a very long road where there’s not much to distract from the conversation.
When I look at these people, I wonder where they’re going, and what they’re doing. I wonder why the fidgeting people are so nervous, why the icy couple aren’t talking, why the passenger is crying.
I also sometimes wonder if the person in the car in front of me is peering back at me. Usually I give them a smile, so they can wonder what I’m smiling about.
Driving home from work in sub-pitter-patter rain that barely qualifies as rain, I glanced at my car dashboard. The fuel efficiency bothers me — I can’t get it down any lower. Mostly because of this traffic, not helped by the rain, as pitiful as it is.
I wonder, “why does this bother me so?”
I’m not driving far, I can afford the petrol, I don’t fill up that often anyway.
But it’s the perceived impact — the impact on a world that’s already dying. And yet, looking at all the cars around me, what difference does it really make?
My actions are a drop in the proverbial ocean — a piddly raindrop on the face of the earth. It’s the corporations that must change! It’s the governments that must enforce change!
Still, it’s not an excuse for inaction.
So what if I’m a raindrop?
Following the cars in front of me, I think how we’re all sheep. Raindrop sheep.
But surely in a herd of sheep, you occasionally get one that breaks away from the group. Don’t you?
Troubled minds at rest;
In our dreams we are fearless,
Until the dawn comes
I think there are certain things that we do all the time that we never question, or never stop to wonder about. For me, I’m quite likely to question and wonder about these things eventually. It might take years and years, but one day, maybe in a half-awake daze, I’ll wonder, “why is it that I do this like this?”
One such habit that has come under scrutiny is the way I rinse my toothbrush after using it. (Can you tell this is going to be a riveting post?)
Firstly, a bit of background: I’m right-handed. When I was a kid, I tried to learn to be ambidextrous, but that proved too hard. I can write very slowly with my left hand, and also use chopsticks left-handed, so that’s something, but I generally leave everything up to the right hand.
That is, everything except rinsing my toothbrush.
Somewhere toward the end of last year — perhaps in October — we buried some pith and seeds in the compost heap, not expecting it to do anything other than decompose and rot like everything else in there (apart from the pumpkin seeds, which really don’t need much encouraging at all in order to sprout and grow).
Weeks passed, and we added more food scraps to the heap, forgetting with every addition what was already in there. But then, in the second half of November, something sprouted near the edge of the heap — something that didn’t seem like a weed (or at least not like the weeds we were familiar with). We left it there, sprouting out of the compost heap, to see what it would become.