We spent most of our day out of our home, in places that wouldn't have been worth mentioning three summers ago, and not wearing masks, which has been unheard of for the last couple summers.
I realized that over the last few weeks, we've been less concerned about wearing masks. I have some cloth ones hanging on the console shifter in my car, that I'll don for quick errands, like stepping into a gas station, or picking the kids up from school, and engaging with the person behind their shield at a drive-through. I know they're supposed to be single-use between washes, and probably weren't meant to last as long as they have. But better than nothing, yeah? I wear better, fresh paper masks, sometimes also with the cloth ones, when I do longer errands like dash through a grocery store.
Today we went out for breakfast. We've been doing that a little more on the weekends. It's part of our self-reward for getting up at the crack of dawn regardless of the day of the week. The kids and dogs don't have sleep-in timers or desires, usually, so even when the dawn doesn't break, our house is usually up in whole or enough by the 7AM hour to start thinking about breakfast. If you go out to a restaurant for breakfast at 7-8AM, only the old retired folk are there. We should be old retired folk by now, but we fit in because of the grey beard. The waitstaff tend to still wear masks, as might any host or other employee we can see, and I assume similar for the kitchen staff. None of the patrons, though, wear a mask much farther in than the entry.
At breakfast we decided to make a quick run to the sporting goods store. The little little needs athletic protection to play catcher, and his handed-down cleats are getting a little tight. So we went to the new closest place, which is the old closest place, but in a new place. We wandered through their new two-story layout, found the cleats department, found some that fit. We tested a couple styles and a couple sizes, and found the ones that stay snug, and make for faster running (on the astroturf in the store, anyway). We found some sliding shorts with a protection pocket and an included cup. He vacillated on whether he wants to play catcher, but I pointed out all the sports wear protective gear, at least the cup, so he capitulated. We looked at some other things, and ran into friends as we were lapping toward the exit. We chatted in the aisles for a bit, and among the other conversations, learned some details about the climbing wall. The old place had a climbing wall, too, but it was along the back, where we could steer clear, or view from afar. Their son was going to climb, so we went to watch. Our kids thought they might want to do it, too, so we signed up for the next available spot...in an hour. We paid for our purchases, and decided to wander the mall.
All of that without many masks. Most of the people working at the store, and just a few shoppers, wore masks. I say "most" of the people at the store because there were a few nose-out mask wearers, who don't seem to realize that's as important as covering the mouth.
We roamed the mall, mostly hoping to stall for time, and ended up at a candy store, where my kids acted appropriately. They're good kids, and after wandering and looking at everything (and touching too much), they settled on a thing each, and we made our way back to the rock wall. The guy working the store had a mask on, but none of the patrons did. Along the way, that seemed to be the mode. Most or all of the people working still had masks, and some people shopping did, but most shoppers and some workers did not.
We returned and the kids climbed the wall for their fifteen minutes. The bigger little went through the quick lesson and started crushing it to the top. She went through all of the self-guided channels. They have a spring-loaded strap to help them lower slowly, should they fall or when they're finished. It took the kids a while to get used to that, and believe in its safety. She had made it up, and took climbing down as part of the challenge. Near the end, she started kind of rappelling down, or just leaping away from the wall to kind of parachute down. The little little had a little more fear of heights starting out. Another kid had the shortest, easiest route first, so mine tried the next easiest, but just as tall as the others. He'd make it about a third to half way, and start doubting, and come down. He did a few paths, and even made it past some of the overhangs, but heights got to him. He did really well, and did it all with a smile. We'll surely be called on to do that again.
No one at the climbing wall was wearing a mask correctly. One guy had one on, but over his chin, not even covering his mouth.
Later, we went to a baseball game. We sat in different seats than normal, because our seat partners had our usual seats. No one in the crowd near us, or working in the stands had masks on. I didn't see players wear them in the dugout like they did before, although they'd take them off in the field. Many, but not all, of the concessions people had them on, but not all of them were wearing them completely covering their air holes. Some of the crowd had masks on when entering or exiting, but we didn't.
It was the first game that we were able to enjoy to the end in our seats since the big little could walk. Usually there's a big, stadium-wide jaunt for some mid-game entertainment and food not available near us. The different view, maybe different perspectives for the little little since he started playing ball, and just having the different food nearby from being in the different seats, all led to being able to sit in our seats for almost the whole game! The kids and I made a quick run for ice cream at an inning break, and also got some cotton candy for them. The little little sat next to me for the game, and asked strategy questions, and read everyone's names and some stats. All very different than games before. I like this better.
This was a day I noticed all of the no-mask activities. Since the kids were doing different camps before this week, we'd not been doing masks as the camps didn't have masks. We've gone to a few restaurants without masks. I've not donned masks because of the heat, or time nipped too short, or a bunch of other excuses.
We're still not doing as much, and we distance more than before, even with our friends. But it feels like everyone has worn out of so much of the pandemic things.
I hope it's because the vaccines are working, and we've gotten to know the disease and its treatment. I think the hospitals are able to handle more, with my one ER doc friend giving his "our bigger problem is when people are out with COVID than people in the hospital with it" seat-of-pants opinion. Sure, the severe cases are still severe. It transmits like the flu, but seems like crossing the line from bad to horrible is worse with COVID. Still, generally, if you're healthy and vaccinated, it seems generally annoying, and largely manageable.
We're still being a little careful. Maybe more enjoying some of the small spaces that remain, and just avoid the places that are too crowded. Being older and having smaller kids, that suits us anyway.