06 February 2022

To understand what it all means feels ...

3M's 9501+ KN95 mask is being given away for FREE
at/by/from our local public library. Find out how to get yours!

Our local public library is giving away this 3M 9501+ KN95 mask and the 3M 9502+ KN95 (the difference between the 01+ and 02+ being ear straps and head straps, respectively). About two weeks ago, they began to distribute them two at a time per person, per visit. I didn’t know anything about this; I just happened to be in the library when I overheard an older woman asking the masked librarian through a mask and a plexi-partition about the “free masks” and the ensuing conversation between her and the librarian that revolved around multiple phone calls, multiple visits to multiple libraries, etc. I was shocked, so I ran over and nonchalantly asked if there were anymore “free masks,” and the librarian happily obliged, and when I asked if I could get two for my [bodybuddy/lifemate], she asked, “Where is he?” To which I responded as I pointed to where he was standing near a display shelf, “Over there.” She happily gave up two more to me, and over the course of the past few weeks the distribution has been more generous, and so, we’ve been collecting them.

They’re good masks, so they say. 

We’ve been double masking with a fabric mask and a surgical mask over it. We acquired a large box of surgical masks sometime last summer.

Unfortunately, we are part-time employed (still, but oh so close to liftoff! Yes, our jobs totally suck, just like yours, but we are very close to no longer needing to job :) and receive paychecks from an employer, and so, two-to-three days per week we are in the face of the public and multiple coworkers. Luckily, it’s part-time. No complaints here. Also luckily, mask-wearing is enforced among the employed (and loosely enforced [no shooters, please] among customers), and luckier still, it’s a large, open (albeit indoors) environment, meaning it’s easy to remain a good distance from everyone, nevertheless, the virus ripped through the unvaccinated at our job late last fall, early winter. It was tragic, actually. 

Now we have a small backstock of good masks in case another unknown respiratory virus, etc. But it’s stupid not to use the “good masks” while the pandemic is ongoing, while we’re in it, right?, and yet, it feels like a waste somehow, perhaps, because we’ve gone this far without them. We’ve double masked for quite some time now, and our double-mask situation (yes, I can speak for the bodybuddy/lifemate in this instance) makes us both feel safe and well-protected, and yes, we are vaccinated, but we are not boosted, and we mask regularly and have actively avoided socializing this entire time, to this day, still, until … we don’t know when, because this thing is not over, and we've been healthy for the past two years straight, an extra-long stretch of health for me, personally. Crazy long, actually.   

How can it feel like a waste at this point in my life? I do not really understand the feeling. It’s so strange; it’s so illogical, but my natural pull is to save the “good masks” for the future, stash them away for an emergency, but we are living in it (an emergency) right now, as I write and breathe! Ugh! Am I crazy? Have I lost it? Am I dead? Did I die, and all of this is just some final figment of my life’s imagination? When will I wake from this never-ending liminal nightmare? We've never been stuck in one place for so long. Ever. Never. I can feel the pull of time, the spin of Earth. And sometimes, these days, I get dizzy. And the I in me really wants to know when this will all be fucking over, because to grapple with any sort of meaning during a time like this (or with regards to reality, at all) is futile, and so, the when of the matter is all I hope to understand, these days.