Life in the Time of Covid-19
Wearing a mask, as we were told by the government to help control the spread of the Covid-19, I made a short and hurried visit to a neighborhood market the other day.
The mask I was wearing happened to be made of black material that covered the lower half of my face. I also wore a pair of newly purchased spectacles whose lenses automatically turn dark when they are exposed to light like sunglasses. In addition, I was wearing a black baseball cap.
As usual, I did not pay much attention to my appearance in public. So, imagine how surprised I was when I saw myself in the mirror hung just behind the checkout counter! I hardly realized that the man standing in front of the cash register was myself.
If I had a toy gun in my right hand and announced that I was a hold-up, I thought I could easily fool the cashier. While she was totting up the prices, I took off the glasses and mask to wipe the sweat off my face with a handkerchief.
Only then did she recognize me and exclaimed: “Oh, it’s you! I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” As neighborhood acquaintances, she and I go a long way back.
“You thought I was a stranger and a hold-up, I bet,” I asked her, laughing. “Seriously, though,” I added, “you don’t have to apologize. For, even I couldn’t recognize myself in this stupid outfit!”
“No, it isn’t as bad as you think you look,” she said.
“Anyway, let’s blame the coronavirus for all the surprises and inconveniences we are experiencing these days,” I said.
With a mask on, she agreed with me by nodding and smiling with her eyes. And what a pair of pretty eyes! I have known her for years but failed to notice that she had such beautiful eyes. But now, since the mask became almost a part of our face and since it hides most other facial areas, the eyes seem to have become the focal point that attracts attention in our daily face-to-face meetings with others.
In this connection, Incidentally, I listened to a panel discussion on radio the other day in which a sociologist pointed out that since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, there has not been any beauty contest as they used to. It was mainly because government authorities as well as health officials kept discouraging, if not banning, the unnecessary person-to-person contacts in public gatherings.
It could be interesting, I thought, if some people hold a beauty contest with all the participants wearing a mask. I must admit it was a silly thought. Joking aside, though, we could not rule out such an unthinkable and outrageous event taking place if we were forced to live with the Covid-19 for a long time.
Regardless of whether we, the humans, could win or lose our current battle against the coronavirus, we wouldn’t be able to go back and live our lives as we used to. So, we have to make changes and adjust our life to the new modes brought to our society by the pandemic.
There are people in many countries who appear to be increasingly nervous and impatient with their governments, accusing them of being inefficient in their fights against the disease. But I’m sure that each and every government as well as doctors and their staff are doing their best. In the meantime, we can only hope that sooner or later, mankind will prevail once again as they have done so many times in a similar global crisis in the past.