Blimey! It all kicked off last week, and all we were asked to do was support the fight against Covid19 by wearing a face mask in public! From what I’ve seen in my neck of the woods, most people are generously complying; but apparently, the ‘anti mask alliance’ has been over-breathing with frustrated anxiety, and taken to troll-like comments on social media, hurling indignant abuse at anyone who seems genuinely concerned about the current crisis! It appears that their civil right, in a free country, to make an independent choice has been compromised and taken away! Oh dear! Well if they all end up on ventilators they might well change their minds!

A young anti-mask, anti- Covid, anti-everything activist in the USA recently did exactly that! After protesting vehemently ‘against’ all safe protocol, the victim attended a trending ‘Covid party’ with the intent of deliberately catching the virus to prove the entire global pandemic situation is a hoax! The individual was in their 30’s and ended up in intensive care after successfully contracting the virus. Surprisingly, he began preaching from a completely different pulpit after that. Sadly, the young conspiracy theorist eventually died in hospital, admitting to medical staff on his deathbed that he made a grave mistake. Or maybe his reported death was also just a hoax? After all, to some individuals, everything attached to Covid19 is simply over-exaggerated and pure fantasy! Mask wearing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but then neither is the callous consequence of herd immunity or the rambling theories of the educated ignorant!

The other day, whilst supporting the government ruling, we were masked up and walking through our local village when we bumped into an old acquaintance from a neighbouring municipality. “Where’s your face mask?” we asked, jovially, as our friend was shamelessly without one. “Oh, I don’t have to wear a mask,” he said. “Why?” we asked. Apparently he had a letter from his doctor, exempting him from wearing a face covering.

Yet surprisingly, he didn’t have the said letter on him at the time, which I would have thought would have been mandatory to carry. “I can’t breathe when I wear a mask,” he expanded. “It’s all the smoking,” sympathized his lady companion. “Oh, so you’ve given up then?” we asked. Needless to say he hadn’t given up anything, including bullshitting! But being friends we could grill him with banter. We knew the letter excuse was total nonsense as it was only the second day of the ruling and he would never have had time to acquire any such legal document. “Then without a mask you should stay in your own village,” we said. “But I don’t have the virus,” he claimed, lighting up another cigarette, although he had never even heard of ‘asymptomatic spreaders’ which is a major point of wearing a mask in the first place! It was quite obvious that our ‘friend’ (for want of a better word) was simply using a loophole to avoid wearing a mask, because he just didn’t fancy wearing one, and thus committed himself to selfishly not protecting others!

Our small town is trying its utmost to implement the correct protocol. We are situated at the foot of the Tramuntana mountain range, and the road leading here from Inca also ends here. There is no passing traffic as we are literally the end of the road, so we are quite isolated from the outside world unless we are visited from people living outside our community.

With that thought in mind, another thing that concerns me, regarding the specifics of mask wearing, is the fact that cyclists are also exempt from wearing face coverings. Cycling is classed as an active sport, yet not a sport you need to actually attend at a venue like football, tennis, golf etc. Cyclists are independent and travel freely (without face protection ) from village to village all across the island, usually in groups, and settle themselves outside cafés and bars in large numbers, laughing, shouting, touching everything and generally socialising before moving off to the next unsuspecting village. It seems that with all the information circulating as to how this virus spreads, cyclists seem to tick a lot of those boxes, so why no masks? And why are they allowed to travel so freely around the island? Perhaps something the government needs to address?

Also, the general attitude of cyclists towards the advised protocol seems very cavalier considering the current situation. The other day whilst on my daily country walk, a group of young cyclists whizzed past at speed with only inches to spare between their handlebars and my elbow. God forbid they should ever slow down! I often carry a T-shirt and use it to cover my mouth against dust clouds or heavy diesel fumes if a tractor trundles past. And more recently, to afford some protection (valid or otherwise) against possible ‘virus breath’ from complete strangers when cyclists pant, puff and shout to each other as they pass, expelling much more air than normal breathing. We are told that the virus is potentially airborne transmitted and travels within moisture as tiny droplets suspended in the air when people cough, sneeze, shout, pant or breathe heavily! So all I am doing is trying to protect myself.

This particular group of cyclists thought it was hilarious that I should cover my mouth, irrespective of their lack of knowledge regarding any health issues I might or might not have. For all they knew I could be suffering from a serious breathing condition or worse! But in a nutshell, they just didn’t give a Hugo Boss! And I think that just reflects the negative attitude of some individuals when participating in a sport like cycling that has the potential to affect others who personally made no commitment to participate in their chosen pursuit of pleasure. A little respect and understanding goes a long way! Or not, depending how thoughtless you are!
I also hold my breath when these ‘special’ unmasked individuals insist on passing too close for comfort, but to date can only manage ‘not breathing’ for just over one minute without passing out. Hopefully, by the end of this crisis I will have lungs like hot water bottles and be able to deep-sea-dive for Majorcan pearls.

If Zorro, the masked avenger, asked everyone to come on board and wear a face covering it would be a completely different, fashionable outcome amongst the young and impressionable! Masking against Covid19 is not a snowflake trend, it’s a valid attempt to control a crisis that we can overcome if we all just behaved, got on with it, and grew up!