When Covid broke out in my country and mask-wearing first became mandatory (except when doing vigorous exercise), there was an incident that I feel highlighted a major character flaw of mine.
I was driving with my wife.
We stopped at a pedestrian crossing.
A woman in her fifties crossed the road, mask pulled down, looking around, clearly enjoying her surroundings, with a big smile on her face.
As she crossed, she noticed other people crossing the road from the other side towards her so she quickly pulled up her mask.
My wife and I both noticed her, and her actions, and here is a summary of our respective reactions…
My Wife: What a lovely lady. She’s really enjoying her walk and the trees, and still considerate enough to put her mask on when people are coming near her.
Me: What an arrogant, self-entitled cow. Who does she think she is? Clearly, she’s only walking and not vigorously exercising, yet she has her mask down. Oh, now she pulls it on when there are people passing by her so they don’t tell her off.
So when my wife goes for a brisk walk, she’s happy to take her mask off and enjoy the surroundings and easy breathing, whereas I will insist on keeping mine on, huffing and puffing uncomfortably.
In fact, the only reason I’m still running as exercise instead of brisk walking is that only at a respectable speed do I feel justified in taking my mask off. Anything less than that, such as at a brisk walking pace, I fear people will judge me.
Now I wonder why that is.