Mask Up

Today I wore long pants for the first time since I flew home from Egypt in February 2020.
That would be roughly 20 months spent wearing only shorts.
By shorts, I mean short pants, not underwear.
I don’t even parade around in underwear at home when I’m alone.
Today I had to have my photograph taken for a publicity event,
and it seemed appropriate to look a little more formal for the occasion.

We all know – and by “we,” I mean those who don’t want to die,
or have their children and other family members and friends die –
we all know that if we’re going to get through this pandemic
as quickly as we can, we need to wear masks when we’re around other people.
It’s a sign of maturity, a sign of taking responsibility
for the welfare of the other human beings with whom we share this planet.

I think I started wearing long pants at a fairly young age,
maybe when I began preschool, certainly by the time I began attending church.
Maybe it was a sign I was now grown-up, in a small way.
Times had already changed enough so that it wasn’t really a sign of your age anymore,
making that switch from shorts to long pants,
from knickers to trousers or slacks, as my father called them.
Up until his generation that old idea still lingered:
you wear shorts until you’re deemed old enough for long pants.

The pandemic has made us grow up in a whole new way, all over again.
We’ve matured, at least those of us who care about other people have matured,
to the idea that if you’re going to go out and be around others,
you need to mask up, take care of yourself and of everyone else.

I don’t know when the next opportunity for me to wear long pants will occur again.
If people don’t get vaccinated and wear masks, it may very well be another 20 months, or more.

I claimed my second adulthood, in a way, today.
I accepted that there will be social situations where I demonstrate my maturity by dressing up.
Remember that quaint idea from back when we actually attended all kinds of events?
From back when I attended any events at all.

When the five people, we four and the photographer,
showed up for the photo-taking,
not only were all five of us wearing long pants,
but all five of us were masked up.
I thought it very adult of us all to do both.

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