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Kindess Behind the Mask

Mask wearing mode. On.

It has been spooky and awkward to maintain 1.5m distance from each other. Supermarkets are weird places of invisible space bubbles constantly at risk of being broken by someone’s presence. In the need for space, there seems to be a fear of invading in on someone, even with one’s own words. Eye contact is kept to a minimum and not so many 'hellos' or small talk are exchanged. This led me to ask myself, what affect has this pandemic had on my manners and how polite we are to one another?

As social creatures who thrive on communication and connection, and as an individual who loves my local grocery store experience and eating, I believe our lives can still be connected. Sometimes it can be awkward in a busy shop when you feel as if you're too close to somebody else. Pre-COVID - 19, I would have just said, 'excuse me', reached past the person to take what I needed and moved on. But now I'd wait, or even turn the other way and take the long way around to get my favourite crunchy snack. I still think though that we can be in control of these experiences, slow down and acknowledge this situation and each other.

In what little interaction I have outside my home, my small practices have made for a better day. So first and foremost, and I’m not saying that you need to do this, I drew a smiley face on my mask. I mean, if I have to wear it, I might as well make the experience a little bit more fun. I’ve gotten some smiles back and wow, I am surprised by how positive of an effect it has on me.

I’ve also started to be more intentional about my eye contact and be aware of how often I have been avoiding it since the lockdown started. Being more vocal has helped as well, nothing conversational, but making sure a 'hello' or 'thank you' and other forms of gratitude are given. I’ve realised that it isn’t a practice for others as much as it has been a practice for me. I'm pleased that I am staying open and I am passing kindness on without expecting anything in return. Even if people in the supermarket may think I'm a little bit crazy!

Our interactions may be small, but can be mighty.


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