Our Masks Will Be the Physical Artifacts of This Time

I’m hanging on to mine.

Will Leitch

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My Medium colleague Susan Orlean has written, movingly, about the unexpected pleasure of wearing masks during the pandemic, and I get it. I have never understood, regardless of one’s political persuasion or propensity to get immediately aggrieved, what exactly is so terrible about wearing a mask in the first place. They’ve made them very comfortable, they’re easily detached from your face, they don’t hurt, they have no side effects, and you really can breathe just fine with them: When I was in New York last month, my first trip there during the pandemic, I ran six miles across the Manhattan Bridge and back wearing one and was totally fine. The worst thing I can say about masks is that every time I saw someone wearing one, it reminded me, as if I could forget, that I was currently living through a pandemic. I can’t help but wonder if that’s why so many people truly did dislike them so much. Denial, or at the least living temporarily in an imaginary planet of one’s choosing, will always have its appeal.

I will confess, though, now that the pandemic is on the downswing in this country — and I do not mean to downplay what is happening in some other, less-vaccinated countries, but I’m afraid the only country I’m currently living in is this one — I am ready to be done with my masks. I am still…

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Will Leitch

Author of six books, including “How Lucky” and "The Time Has Come." NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com