Traveling with the Great Unmasked

September 23, 2021 • 2:51 pm

I’m cooling my heels in Baltimore for an hour, as the direct flights from Chicago to Boston and back were either ridiculously expensive or sold out.  In airports and on planes, masks are required, but, at least in the airports I’ve visited, obedience isn’t universal.

On my Southwest flight from BOS to BWI, for example, they were hardasses about mask wearing, and good for them! They announced several times that, except when you were drinking, you had to have your mask over your nose and mouth, and, sure enough, the flight attendants went down the aisles and chided those who had their masks over their mouth but not their nose. (Is this behavior sheer stupidity or a duplicitous way to evade the restrictions?)

And in the airports, while nearly all people have masks somewhere around their neck, a few are sitting around with all facial orifices open to the free air, while many others have their noses hanging out over the top of their masks.  Nobody is enforcing this, of course, and it’s only my fear of being yelled at or beaten up that keeps me from a “get off my lawn” gesture of reminding these miscreants to cover up their schnozzes. All I can do is keep away from them.

Well, I remember some advice that the Southwest attendant told us on the way to Boston: “Masks are like pants: if anything is hanging out, you’re doing it wrong.”

I also found a page of over 100 mask jokes. Here’s one:

I recently bought my pet duck a mask to protect it from coronavirus.

It’s nothing flashy, but it fits the bill.
I’ll be here all year, folks!


35 thoughts on “Traveling with the Great Unmasked

  1. “Is this behavior sheer stupidity or a duplicitous way to evade the restrictions?”

    I’m going with what logicians call a “false dichotomy.”

  2. Sorry to hear about your travel er… travails. Thanks for the duck joke – a good one! (I enjoyed the “There is a law that says you don’t have to wear a mask.
    It’s called Natural Selection” one, too.)

    1. Oh, that is good. In the unregulated transportation industry, an airplane ride is about like going cross country on a bus.

  3. Non stop flight as long as you don’t count Baltimore. Just try to stay out of fights. I think pretty soon they will be issuing helmets on airplanes.

    1. De Santis has chosen a new FL Surgeon General who is, if not antivax, perilously close. I forget the person’s name, but this was on the news a couple of days back.
      I have no plans to visit FL anytime soon, that’s for sure.

      1. Florida’s new crank surgeon general is Dr. Joseph Ladapo; its governor, Ron DeathSantis.

        Let him live that sobriquet down while eyeing the next GOP presidential nomination.

  4. Compliance in a typical Idaho retailer is very poor. Careful masking can protect me up to 80 – 95% effectiveness. So, I mask to protect myself. The rest of them can take their chances.

  5. ‘They’ are right you know. If you get vaccinated against COVID you will die. Eventually, and hopefully of old age.

  6. My favorite mask joke is from a first grader:

    “If you can fart though your jeans, you can talk through your mask.”

  7. Just more news to catch up on. If you do not keep up with Jeopardy — there is a person on there now that may be the next Ken Jennings. Has now won 26 days straight and about $925,000.

      1. He came close to losing a game this week. He has the habit of doing a “true daily double” on the first daily double he encounters. If he gets it wrong, as he did in this show, he’s back to zero. This may trip him up if he runs up against a really good player. At final jeopardy he didn’t have a runaway but, as usual, he got it right. It was good to see him respond to the challenge.

  8. One of the joys of WEIT is that I regularly learn new words. Here is my contribution to the lexicon describing those individuals who don’t wear their masks properly, we call them:


    This level of verbiage caters to the unmasked. Do you think we should have T-shirts made?

  9. … the flight attendants went down the aisles and chided those who had their masks over their mouth but not their nose. (Is this behavior sheer stupidity or a duplicitous way to evade the restrictions?)

    It’s classic passive-aggressiveness: you can make me do it, but I’m gonna do it my way, just to show I don’t have to follow all your little rules.

  10. Glad I don’t have to deal with those things anymore, the silly mask mandate ended here back in june. No point in masks when you’re vaccinated anyway!

    1. Dunno where you’re commenting from, but the mask mandate hasn’t ended for the airspace above it, which is what our host is addressing here.

  11. Surgical masks tend to leak from the top. If one wears glasses, they become foggy due to the moisture leaking upwards along the nose from the mask. I hope the airlines have a solution for bibliophiles with presbyopia.

    1. Exactly, Matti K. Which is why I especially liked this one:

      If Covid 19 has forced you or a loved one to wear a mask with your glasses,

      You may be entitled to condensation.

  12. This isn’t meant as a troll, but it will read like at least a quasi-troll (apologies for that): if you’re vaccinated, you don’t need (except out of pro-social politeness) to wear a mask, and even for the unvaxxed there are other more effective NPI’s like ventilation. Yes, masking probably has some marginal benefits in certain situations, but these are situations you’d do much better just to avoid if you’re old or have co-morbidities or for some reason can’t take the vaccine. Airport masking, like airport security, is mostly theater. Masking in the plane itself? Entirely theater at this point. Prediction (also not a troll): within eight months this will be the prevailing view, even among readers here who may be inclined to view this comment as a troll. My guess is that masking—again, whatever its marginal benefits in specific situations—will be seen to have had far more impact as a socio-cultural phenomenon than as a public health measure. But let’s say I’m wrong about that—in that case, another prediction: we will find ourselves still further, and I would say perilously, down the road of being unable to distinguish a scientifically grounded approach to public health from the second-order socio-cultural phenomena that politics imbues it with.

    1. In eight months, I’ll likely be off the mask — in every day life where I’m socially isolated. If I were going through an airport, shopping center, concert hall, I’d wear my mask. And likely so in public places for every flu season the rest of my life. And certainly in transit through mask-freedom epicenters.

      The protection of the mask is not large, but no one factor, including vacc. or prior course of disease. But these are multiplicative…

      Or perhaps I’m just a second-rate, second order socioeconomist?

  13. For those who wear glasses, the reason for lowering the mask to just below the nostrils is obvious: so
    that we can see, given the familiar effect of fogged glasses. As for me, I make a point wearing one mask or another at all times, such as:

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