Recognizing Vaccinated People

I received a few strange stares from people as I walked into King Soopers Supermarket a few days ago. I was wearing a mask. It was something I had been doing for the past year, even to the point of moving my eyeglasses to the top of my head because they had steamed up. Hiding half your face with a mask while sporting glasses perched on the top of your head is a bit unusual.

There were other people in the store who weren’t wearing masks and they seemed undisturbed by their radicalism. It wasn’t until I exited the store that I noticed the sign that said “Masks are optional for vaccinated people.”

Optional…huh! Those strange looks were actually coming from people who were probably thinking I was a non-conformist. The suspicious stares were because they thought I was the one who was going against all those public service announcements. Actually, my second vaccination was in early March. I just hadn’t gotten the memo about optional masks.

But isn’t it a bit presumptuous to assume someone has been vaccinated just because they are mask-less? Or, on the other side of the mask, assuming quite a bit that someone hasn’t been vaccinated just because they ARE wearing a mask?

Knowing how many self-absorbed, entitled, self-centered people there are these days, I can’t assume too much. Also, there is plenty of nosey folks who think they have a right to question someone’s status or intelligence. In Walmart the other day one of my wife’s cousins was wearing a mask. A stranger walked up to him and said, Why are you wearing a mask? Aren’t you going to get vaccinated?” There was a hint of judgmentalism in his voice. Carol’s cousin replied that he had been vaccinated.

“Well, why are you still wearing a mask then?” came the crotchety response.

“Because…I want to!”

We have entered a new phase of confusion. We aren’t sure of anyone’s status. Thus, we make judgments on appearances.

“He’s not wearing a mask, but he just doesn’t look like someone who would get vaccinated.”

“She’s wearing a mask. Probably has tested positive! Better stay away from her.”

Hey! I’ve done the same thing with Sunday morning people. If the family at the next table in Cracker Barrel is dressed up I assume they are church people. However, I go to the next step in my analysis. I make a determination on what flavor of church they’ve attended. I’m pretty good, I think, at spotting conservative Baptists and downtown Presbyterians. I even go so far as to make a guess on the type of worship service they’ve been to…traditional, Pentecostal, contemporary, Catholic mass, Christian Science lecture, or Mormon ritual.

True confession! I have even judged a few people on the road to Hell because of their scruffy, non-repentant appearances.

Yes, Jesus had whispered to me about the fact that the log in my eye might distort my vision of the speck on the other guy’s eyeglass lens. I…okay, we…have a tendency to make judgments on the unknown. When I came home from college one Christmas break with long hair parted in the middle, my mom thought I had gone over to the dark side, maybe even been smoking some of that “funny weed”. A haircut two days later at Morris’s Barber Shop instantly moved me back into the land of the Lord’s!

It’s how we are. Crazy, isn’t it, how a mask in a supermarket or a nice dress worn in a restaurant on a Sunday can cause us to make leaping assumptions.

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