Let me level with you all for a second: this pandemic is the worst. I hate wearing a mask. I hate that my hands are always dried out from how often I wash them. I hate that all of my music festivals and concerts are canceled this year. We’re all missing out on things important to us, whether they are school, sports, worship, shows or exercise classes.

Two weeks ago I had a minor scratchy throat and a little congestion, a common cold, nothing to worry about, right? Not in today’s day and age. You cough one time in front of anyone and common cold or not … coronavirus! Just to be extra cautious, I begrudgingly scheduled a test at CVS. I spent my Saturday morning shoving a giant cotton swab as far up my nose as far as possible while battling (and failing miserably) the involuntary bodily function that happens when you do that: excessive sneezing.

Needless to say, I was straight up not having a good time. But do you know who’s having a worse time? The people who are actually sick with COVID-19 and fighting for their lives.

Toward the end of July, my mom’s cousin was battling coronavirus and each day it was getting scarier. One day he was having a hard time at home, the next he was in the hospital, the next on oxygen, the next getting admitted to the ICU. It’s terrifying how quickly things progressed. Our whole family was worried sick about him as updates circulated through siblings, cousins and kids. By the grace of God he was able to battle through it and is now recovering back at home.

I see people arguing all day and night about this pandemic, particularly about wearing a mask. Listen, I get it. It’s hot. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not fun. But it’s one small thing we can all do to help put an end to this pandemic and get our lives back. The longer we fight masks and other preventative measures, the longer we’re gonna have to deal with it.

I remember when I was a little kid and my mom would ask me to do something I didn’t want to do. “But why?” I’d whine. “Because I’m your mother and I said so,” she’d reply. I would continue to argue and try to dispute whatever menial request it was until, completely fed up, she’d finally say, “In the time you’ve spent complaining about it you could have already had it done!”

Fast forward about two decades to 2020. Somehow we’ve all become that querulous child who doesn’t want to do the simple thing their mother is asking them to do. Maybe if we put the same energy into taking one for the team and wearing the mask as we did into arguing about it, we wouldn’t be seeing such a skyrocketing of cases right now. Maybe if we put as much effort into doing our part in preventative measures as we did our social media arguments, we’d be a little more stable. Maybe if we kept the families who have lost loved ones in mind when we went to complain about how much this sucks, we’d realize that wearing a piece of cloth over our mouths and noses and missing our entertainment for a year is the least of our worries.

I think we all have room for improvement when it comes to doing our part to help lessen the burdens of this pandemic. I’d much rather sweat while wearing a mask in the store than go back to a full shutdown again, wouldn’t you? I feel like we’re pushing our luck far too much with that. And quite frankly, the prosperity of small companies and the economy cannot take too many more hits.

Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the greater good. And the sooner we all make those sacrifices, the sooner we’ll be able to have the large gatherings back that we miss so much.

Wear the mask, wash your hands, don’t breathe on people and if you’re feeling sick, go get a test. It’s a pain in the butt and zero fun, but it can mean the difference between life and death for someone. And when you look at it that way, a minor inconvenience is absolutely worth a life.

BTW, my test was negative. But I will try to have a positive outlook for the future.

Maureen Bole is a freelance writer. She can be reached at mbole@chagrinvalleytimes.com.

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