The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, but as someone who is always thinking ahead, a question popped into my head today. What are we going to do with all these cloth face masks when this pandemic is done? Fortunately, for me, a few answers also popped into my head, because I hate having good questions linger around in my head like lost ghosts of thoughts haunting me until I could bust them! More fortunately, one answer stood out more than the others, but let’s start with the others.
Bathroom and fart protection
It’s completely normal now to enter a public washroom with a face mask on now, in many jurisdictions where the leaders and citizens are sensible to be wearing masks in indoor public spaces. As someone more prone to the smell of shit than the average person, I would say, I have never enjoyed my bad breath so much, stuck in my mask pocket as the first air I inhale after I exhale, as when I have to go into a public washroom and worry about what smells might hit me. The content of my bad breath might actually be worse than the diluted smell of some shit, but I will take it over the smell of shit any day, not the least because I am familiar with it! When this pandemic is done, wearing a mask in a public washroom will still be acceptable, even if not normal, unlike before. And also unlike before, if you wanted to have a mask then to minimize your exposure to shit scents, you will have some or many at your disposal.
Outside the bathroom, walking around with a mask will also minimize the impact of the odd, random exposure to farts. You know, in public faces where you suddenly walk through someone’s fart cloud. I’m enjoying that benefit now, having done so a handful of times already since last summer when masks became mandatory where I live. My bad breath might be stinky, but again, at least I’m familiar with it and am ready for it when I have my mask on, unlike someone else’s fart cloud I occasionally walk through without warning. I haven’t traveled a lot in a car in the past year, but for road trips, when someone lets one go without others being able to detect other than by smell, I can only imagine the same benefits with a mask on.
Winter face wear
Scarfs can be cumbersome, sometimes awkward, sometimes overkill, to wear to cover your face in winter. Cloth face masks, less so. Easy to slip on and off, for days when it’s not too cold, but the wind might make it so, cloth face masks are a nice alternative. One that won’t be strange any more, even fashionable as some cloth face masks are today. Even when the pandemic is under control, there will always be an acceptance for face masks going forward because vaccines are not, and will not ever be, 100% effective. So why not build them into your future winter wardrobe if it’s cold where you are?
Cloth face masks are made from small pieces of fabric, or can be taken apart to leave small pieces of fabric. What do I know that’s made from small pieces of fabric? Quilts! What else? Now, cloth face mask fabric pieces are not square, but you can make them square, or just use them as is to make a fish gill like quilt. Collect masks from your family, maybe families on your street, or some group you belong to, etc. Any communal source of them, to give some theme and/or meaning to your mask quilt. Deeper, and more morbid, but also more meaningful, would be a memorial quilt, like masks used by people who died from COVID-19 and/or its complications. If they can have AIDS quilts, quilts from another pandemic where small pieces of fabrics weren’t so attached to the cause, then why not a COVID quilt?