The past six months have changed almost everything about our daily lives. We’ve gone from crowded lunchrooms and nights out with friends to home offices and zoom parties. Nothing is the same, least of all social decency.
Trying to soak up the last dredges of warm weather, I’ve been going for walks almost every day. With a mask tucked into my pocket (just in case), I’ve been exploring my new Ottawa neighbourhood. Occasionally, I come across other wanderers, and they or I will step onto the street or wait to the side to give the other the space to pass while still maintaining social distancing. Sometimes, I’ll even cross the street if there are less people on the other sidewalk.
Can you imagine doing that before the pandemic? Before Covid, crossing the street to avoid someone was considered a judge on their character; you went to the other sidewalk to protect your own safety. Now, we cross the street to still protect ourselves, but also to protect others; it’s the considerate thing to do.
This isn’t the only change to public etiquette. Wearing a mask into a store pre-pandemic was a pretty big clue that you were trying to hide your identity for nefarious purposes. Imagine walking into a bank with a bandana tied around your mouth? That would have been a huge red flag. Now, it’s a sign of respect for the people around you to wear a mask. It’s even changed fashion. I can’t wait for all the Beauty YouTube tutorials about how to match your eyeshadow to your mask.
The biggest change in social decency? Not leaving your house when you’re sick. Brushing off minor cold or flu symptoms, or chugging a bottle of Buckleys before a night out is no longer acceptable. Now, when you feel a sore throat or a cough coming on, you stay home and keep your germs to yourself. The most considerate thing you can do for other people is to snuggle into bed and watch all the Netflix.
As the pandemic continues, things will keep changing; who knows, by the time we get out of this, hazmat suits might be all the rage! Until then, let’s remember to be kind to one another, show a little human decency, and wear a goddamn mask.