Mask-A A +A
Friday, December 3, 2010
FOR health reasons, I am currently on a short two-week course of steroids. I was advised to wear a mask wherever I go to minimize the chances of my getting any airborne germ that my nostrils might pluck anywhere. Nothing wrong with that although wearing a mask makes it quite harder to breathe.
On the very first morning that I was to wear a mask, the reality struck. I wondered what other people's thoughts would be about someone with a medical mask outside of the confines of a hospital. A cancer patient? A person with lupus? A "nephro" case? How would they act? I wasn't all that bothered thinking about it. I was just curious. My attitude in the past, in fact, whenever I'd see such individuals during my commute was nonchalant. I guess it was my turn.
That first commute with a mask on in a jeepney was not terrifying at all. Instead, it was comforting. Why? There were three of us wearing contraptions covering parts of our faces below our eyes. Nobody batted an eyelash and oogled us. People just went through their business - reading their notebooks, texting, simply sitting and looking out from the vehicle.
It is comforting to observe that people don't get overtly bothered when they sit beside or sit in front of someone with a mask thinking that that individual harbors a bad germ out to get spread to everyone around. During that morning commute, people without masks would one by one bring out a bandana or a handkerchief to cover their nostrils due to the exhaust from the numerous traveling gas guzzlers. Ah! Now I get the reason for the blasé attitude my fellow commuters have. Thank you, air pollution? Hooray! I don't need to feel different. I am just a commuter with a mask on to lessen the chances of my inhaling all those toxic fumes from our street's vehicles. So does that mean masks should be staples or be in vogue? Well, I hope not. What I do hope for is for air pollution in the province to lessen. I'm not as proud as I was in the past when I'd promote the city to numerous friends, inviting them to come over during their breaks. Even our neighbors in La Union get shocked when they realize that Baguio has lost its magic of being a relatively cleaner city than their capital.
Cough, cough. Bronchitis anyone?
Wheeze, wheeze. You don't have to visit Atlanta or China if pollution is what you want to experience. Just stay in the Summer Capital or at the Salad Bowl of the Philippines.
I wear a mask. I wear a mask for my health. Will I need to continue wearing one?
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 03, 2010.