To the editor:
Walking in Gloucester, I see lots of people, many with masks, some without. Most without masks, myself included on occasion, carefully socially distance when they meet others, whether by crossing the street or tucking into a driveway.
Last Saturday morning, I wore a mask on my walk to Niles Beach. The sidewalk narrows in one section, hemmed in by a guardrail on one side and bushes on the other. A man and woman, both maskless, approached from the other direction while I was in this constricted area. The woman socially distanced herself from me by walking in the road, while the man continued on the sidewalk toward our inevitable too-close encounter.
As our paths crossed, I quietly said to the man, “You know, in places like this, you should wear a mask.” He replied “Mind your own business!” When I politely said “This IS my business,” he launched into a non-socially distanced tirade about my ignorance and how bad masks are.
These days, many people are forced to make difficult, even existential, decisions about their work or child care. Last Saturday was a simple choice where being kind would have been so easy. Instead, this man chose confrontation over courtesy.
How sad that facemasks have become politicized and divisive. The real choice is not between masks or no masks. It’s about how we choose to treat each other.