We're still out here trying, Nate. Thanks for writing this. Spot on, as usual.

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It's not courage, you know. It's just sensible self-defense, mostly. Isn't it? For me it is.

I see society capitulating to the spin and (a little desperately) trying to make it 2019 again. It doesn't make sense except in the context of really needing to fit in or not be judged? Maybe there's an element of being bored or tired of having to deal with it.

It doesn't really matter why. They can't spin their way past the ravages of the disease.

For me, situational awareness informs my choice to stay masked until the virus is gone. I guess I don't mind if that makes me an outlier. It's irrelevant.

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I am convinced that my inner voice has kept me from harm on several occasions and I trust it implicitly. In early 2020, it was almost a mantra of "You don't want this. Don't get this." My inner voice overrides peer pressure and embarrassment. If I try and ignore it, there is so much inner conflict that I'm just a bundle of anxiety. I still have "Mask Dreams" where I'm in places I know are risky but I don't have a mask or I have a faulty one. Between those two things, I don't know when I will ever be able to stop masking around others. Outdoors, I even sometimes find myself holding my breath if someone is too close to me.

I don't know if I will ever go back to not masking at all. But at least I'll be ready and safe from the next pandemic that is probably out there brewing right now. *shrug*

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Where I live wastewater COVID readings are elevated -- a lot. So my fellow small upstate NY city residents respond with a visible yawn and steadfastly cling to not wearing the mark of restriction -- a mask. This is following 'the science'?

Two particular phrases being abused are 'tools' and 'the science'. I doubt anyone would be happy with the purchase of a nail gun that only drove in half the nails. But our bettors are paraphrasing that only a poor workman blames his tools to deflect any criticism of their senseless allowance of virus spread. And what precisely is 'the science'? For a system of hypothesis and experimentation any reference can hardly be static.

So despite the admonition of this column's series title, I not only despair our predicament, but I am working up a bit of a panic!

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