Me, My Mask & I

Yes, I know I need a haircut. My return to post lockdown society has not included a visit to the barbers yet. I hope to fit it in soon. Or allow Fionnuala and Adam to do it, seeing as they did such a good job last time. But today’s post is about my mask wearing adventures on public transport, which became mandatory in Northern Ireland last week. It’s also looking likely this will apply to shops in the near future.

Staff at Translink N.I. have been preparing commuters for several weeks now by handing out free masks at bus and rail stations. So, nobody has an excuse for not knowing the requirement or having access to a face covering. That aside, the buses and trains have been largely empty as many people are still working from home or avoiding this form of transport. I invariably have a carriage to myself, although that doesn’t negate the need for me to cover up.

I felt faintly ridiculous when I first donned my mask upon entering the station complex. I resembled a surgeon who had gotten somewhat lost. This soon disappeared, however, when I realised that everyone else was in the same boat. Some had their own coverings, of every shade and colour, while others opted for scarves or alternate coverings wrapped tightly round their mouth and nose. We were all in this together. Oh, except for under 13’s and those who were medically exempt.

Translink N.I. have been criticised, by myself included, for not sufficiently enforcing this public health requirement. The message seems to have got through for the media have been reporting of persons being refused travel for refusing to don one. And, as I entered the complex yesterday, everyone I saw was wearing one. Apart from one elderly lady on my platform who I can only assume was exempt. It was a sparsely populated platform, where normally it would be shoulder time shoulder.

My problem with masks is not the actual wearing of them, but rather the mechanics of the operation. The second I slip mine over my ears, my glasses start to steam up and I find myself stumbling about like a drunken zombie. There is an art to affixing said face covering to avoid fogging up but I’ve yet to quite master it. I staggered onto my carriage, grateful that the lack of fellow travellers meant there were no further mishaps.

Then there’s the small matter of breathing itself. I felt a little short of breath and claustrophobic, although much of that may have been in my head, due to the novelty of the scenario. Let’s just say, I’m glad I didn’t pursue a career as a submariner or miner. I don’t like having my face covered but for the sake of a 25 minute train journey, could just about manage. That said, I was relieved to arrive at my stop and remove the mask the second I stepped off the train.

While some seem to think the crisis is behind us, I’m not so sure, therefore have no problem with wearing a mask when required to do so. There were 19 new positive cases in Northern Ireland yesterday, largely due to a cluster resulting from a house party where revellers shared the same microphone during a karaoke session. Such irresponsibility and selfishness does not help us fight the common enemy of coronavirus. It was deeply disappointing news to read.

So I’ll blunder on with my steamed up spectacles. I might look slightly silly but sometimes you have to set your own vanity aside for the greater good. I look a tad foolish and I’m badly in need of a trim but it’s a small price to pay in the midst of a global pandemic. I’d be interested to hear your face covering stories so feel free to comment below and share your experiences with us all. Thank you for reading and please stay safe.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

34 thoughts on “Me, My Mask & I

  1. I think everyone feels the same at first, but you soon get used to it. What I can’t understand is why the UK government says things like “you must wear a mask in shops from next Thursday” (or whatever). If it’s a good idea to wear a mask in shops, why isn’t it with immediate effect? Also, just in case nobody has passed on this tip, the trick is to pinch that bendy bit of the mask around the bridge of your nose. It should reduce the fog factor.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. LOL – yes, as mentioned above, pinch the metal nose-piece to fit tighter. I find it’s better to remove my glasses, fit the mask then replace the glasses (I mask all day, working in a hospital). Some have tried cleaning the lenses with shaving cream; a less savory method is one used by scuba divers, to use one’s spittle (not recommended to do in public). Your hair looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely understand the steamed up glasses and shortness of breath.
    I work for NHS community nursing and I have no problem wearing mask when I’ a hospital or patients home..
    But can’t wear for long period.
    Also we are told that Corona is surface contagious.
    So idea of mask is really by wearing it .
    This prevents you from perhaps touching a contaminated surface then touching your face..

    The idea being as soon as you remove mask you wash your hands.

    So I can’t see why it’s necessary when for instance going out walking?
    Just praying it all passes soon.
    I’m due a visit to northern Ireland from Wales
    To see my boy in East Belfast .
    Stay safe 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have to wear a mask at work, when physical distancing is not possible. It is a bit of a pain in the butt, but I gladly don it to keep myself, my coworkers, and my family safe. Why wouldn’t I? And you look fine!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In the words of Billy Crystal, “You look marvelous!” Yes the steamy glasses are annoying, I find a few tweaks to the mask in the metal clips in right spots can usually do the trick. Stay safe Black family 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I live in Central Florida. Some folks, earlier in July, ignored orders to wear masks in public. Now that we have a raging outbreak, the vast majority comply. It seems that the lesson doesn’t change behavior here until the situation becomes dire. Glad that you all are living amongst more reasonable people.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It is no different here in America we are going through the same things.It’s great to know we are not the only ones. However we have so much to do here in the United States it’s a big disaster at the moment.
    Thank you for your story can’t wait to hear more. 😊👍🏾

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have the steaming up issue too. UNTIL I discovered that the mask is too high on the nose. There is a clip. Clip it just over the nostrils. This makes the mask fit more snugly on the face without a lot of air escaping! I was so happy when I discovered that. Not 100% but much much better!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had a bit of a bungling event yesterday. In Canada and masks are mandatory on transit. Employees hand out disposable masks at the train stations but I’ve opted for my own colourful ones. Anyway, I enter the station and try to slip on my mask as graceful as a queen and… nope. The mask shifts and knocks off my sunglasses which are now jammed between my mask and my sun hat. My mask (deciding there isn’t enough space to cling to my ears) falls off on one side. While my partner is urging me to the terminal to reach the in coming train. Anyway I stumble down to the train like some blind drunk in a sundress and get where I have to go. I haven’t mastered the mask yet either but we’ll get through this together.


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