It is most extremely disappointing how society as a whole has unquestioningly taken to the hideous and morally repugnant practice of masking. First I would like to make my stance clear on this that I do not believe that any measure to encourage or mandate the general public to wear face coverings for any length of time or in any setting will be an effective deterrent for the spread of coronavirus. However, it is just such a bad idea to start with. They visibly hurt our environment, make verbal communication and even written communication a chore, bear a striking resemblance to the old masks that slaves were forced to wear, and fuel the fear factor. The worst thing of all about them though is that they are a fierce attack on individuals and the very essence of maintaining a physically and mentally healthy population.
The law is a centrepiece of the coherent functioning of society and all adults in our country should be equipped with the knowledge and experience it takes to be a good citizen. It has therefore taken a lot for me to reject the face covering laws in the United Kingdom and I understand that a lot of us feel the same way. However, we cannot keep going like this, and if we do not push back while we still can we are quite likely to see far worse abuses in the future, mandatory or coerced vaccines of course being one such possibility. Even though I am technically not covered by the mask law in two ways, namely that they cause me severe distress and that I suffer from autism, this is not what I go by and the reason I refuse to wear a mask is because they are wrong. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and would never say he was ‘exempt’, let alone wear a shameful lanyard.
That’s the attitude I took when I approached my local Tesco store on Tuesday, 19th of January this year. I had heard news on mainstream media that large supermarket chains like Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s were cracking down on mask sceptics, but that thought sifted through in a few minutes and it didn’t, at that time, occur to me that even shops of a smaller size would be enforcing these hideous mandates with an iron fist. At first I passed through the entrance and didn’t think much, although they had pretty much the same sort of hysterical and pointless protocols and coronavirus propaganda with a couple of minor differences. Being the rebel at heart, I didn’t pay attention to the silly physical distancing and I passed as close to others as I would have done before the curtain opened on this whole pantomime.
Having obtained what I wanted, including cereals, milk and other items of interest, I made my way to the checkout but as I knew from last time, the self-service checkouts had actually stopped taking plain cash payments and were now only accepting cards. You know where this is heading. I follow my own public health guidance — hold hands, show face, give grace — and decided to wait for a staff member to approach me at the tills so I could pay with notes and coins. Even that though was not free of insanity as the checkout was filled to the brim with dehumanising plexi-screens which made the place feel more like a high-security prison than anything else. An assistant across the isle batted an eyelid against me and within moments I was confronted by an old man. Trouble is, it’s hard to describe him; how are you meant to when face masks impair personality so heavily?
He came well within two metres of me — preach without practice — and at first I could hear only heavy muffling but could eventually make out “you can’t shop in here without a mask” and he pointed to his mask. The whole exchange only served to remind me why I have taken so strongly against face coverings in the first place, but while remaining formal and serious in tone, I politely responded “okay, I’d rather leave then please, thank you”. I am happy with and stand by the way I have dealt with this difficult situation. Once any shop, business or school progresses down the dark route of challenging those who decline to wear face masks they are breeding division and hostility and I certainly felt at the time, and still do, that I cannot give my custom to any venue that fails to understand the significance of what is happening both on their grounds, but also more widely in this country as perpetrated by this government and others.
That concludes my story. I will not be returning to Tesco and I hope that other like-minded citizens will see the sense that masks are bad because they hurt us as a nation, and not just because they are bad for people with disabilities or health problems. It was a tough call but everything we do to campaign for our old lives back will pave the way to a hopeful, prosperous and compassionate future for everyone. Being autistic, I seldom even considered just how much of a lovely courtesy it was for someone to smile and open the door for me but I can certainly feel it permeating deep through my bones now and will cherish it when we have ultimately succeeded in returning love and joy to our wounded psyche. The thrill of a packed movie theater and charm of a peaceful, relaxing hotel are waiting patiently, like good friends on the eve of a wedding. Of everything though it would be amazing to live without fear. Coronavirus surely isn’t worth it, particularly for how low its lethality rate is and how soft of a boxing glove it is to twenty-somethings. Let’s get back to the lives we knew.