ID, boarding pass and … mask?

March 8, 2016

travel-germsThank you to the guy who coughed all over me during my recent flight home from San Diego.

Yes, I know it was you. I could smell the pizza you had for lunch.

Learn to cover your mouth.

I didn’t appreciate getting sick a few days later from your travel germs, feeling like crap and having to curtail my activities.

In the end, though, it was all my fault. Because I didn’t get my surgical mask out in time.

***      ***      ***      ***

Have you ever noticed that many Chinese wear face masks when they travel?  Some even have Burberry prints, so I guess they are a fashion accessory. Here’s what I fervently believe: just like with Asian medicine, all those Chinese can’t be wrong.  So years ago, I started packing a surgical mask in my carry-on satchel.

Well, ok. Here’s how it really happened.  Six years ago when my girlfriend began chemotherapy, we had to wear masks when we visited her in the hospital.  I didn’t mind at all–I never wanted to be responsible for giving her an infection.  Some people would say I carried it to an extreme: she had years of chemo and I did not hug or kiss her most of that time. For that reason.

Listen, I’d sat beside her in emergency rooms and ICUs. In treatment rooms and hospital rooms. I was there when doctors tried to identify the latest infection and I would be damned if anything I did gave her one.

(Probably an extreme, I know. What can I say, except that OCD runs in my family. In fact, we’ve all got a little of it, don’t we?)

I would get on girlfriend, too, if she didn’t wear a mask out in public. She had at least one hospitalization that I strongly suspected was the result of attending a crab feed. Maybe it wasn’t air-borne. But I didn’t want her to get sick. I wanted her to live.

***      ***      ***      ***

So back to the mask. It wasn’t all that uncomfortable. And I did notice all those (mostly) Chinese in airports.  So began wearing a mask on planes.

Lots of people are embarrassed to wear them, but not me.  Let’s see: look a little silly or get someone’s respiratory infection (or worse)…. yeah, no contest. I’ll take looking silly any day.

You’d be surprised at the number of people who cough without covering their mouths, spreading their colds and infections to the rest of us.

And in my jacket pocket on the way to San Diego, I found a mask I’d worn to a hospital not that long ago. I wore it on our short flight. Of course.

But my jacket wasn’t handy on the return flight and Pizza Breath was obviously sick and hacking.

Lesson learned.

***    ***      ***      ***

Hmm.  Did I ever tell you about my use of hand sanitizer at Mass after the sign of peace? Oh yes, HERE.  (Those were the days of very short blog posts.) Well, you know, Communion comes AFTER 10 people have shaken my hand. After that, you think I would put a host in my hand and then in my mouth without sanitizing?  No. Freaking. Way. Jose.

I know it’s all probably overkill.

But still.

If I get on a plane, I wear a mask. No travel germs for ME.

Your thoughts on this burning issue?


29 comments on “ID, boarding pass and … mask?
  1. I see the logic but it would take a lot of convincing for me to wear one, unless it was absolutely necessary, Carol.

  2. Shari Eberts says:

    I like the idea, but I am so busy wearing my noise-canceling headphones on flights to protect my hearing that a face mask might be too much. : )

  3. I have become much more of a germaphobe as I’ve gotten older, but I’ve yet to wear a mask. I don’t think I’d like the feeling of it over my face for a long stretch of time. Still, whatever works!!

  4. Nancy Hill says:

    The recirculation of air will get you anyway, and oh, all those icky surfaces!

  5. Anna Palmer says:

    I guess if there were a burberry one…

  6. Tamara says:

    I have honestly never thought of this solution before. Usually, I just inch over to edge of my seat and try to get as far away from the offending cougher as possible. And then I slather myself with hand sanitizer…

  7. I travel often and a mask is something I just would not feel comfortable wearing. I’m already using earphones for my music, and a travel pillow on extended flights. On top of that a mask would definitely put me over the top! No one would want to sit next to me. Lol. But I love hearing the story behind why you prefer to wear a mask while traveling. Instead I take a little vitamin tablet called Airborne to boost my immune system.

  8. If I wore a mask, the coughers and sneezers wouldn’t be able to really appreciate the way I’m glaring at them. What fun would that be?

  9. Much like Sharon, I, too have become more germaphobic wih age. But every time I see someone with one of those masks, I think they are protecting me from something awful THEY have. I know, so wrong. And besides the other weird thing that has happened to me in my old age is claustrophobia…so the mask just scares me. But I applaud anyone who puts themself first! Yay, Carol!

    • Well, here’s the thing I think: No one gives a shi* about giving me their germs so they can’t have something awful. If they did, they wouldn’t be masked up. But that’s me. LOL

  10. I use a scarf to cover my mouth and nose when I travel (sort of a prettier mask I suppose) and I go through at least an entire small bottle of sanitizer on a flight. I’ve wrestled with OCD my entire life so The mask does not bother me. It has become even more a priority because of my stepsons cancer and my granddaughters severe asthma.
    I may start wearing a mask to mass, last week everyone was hacking. I cringed through the whole thing!

  11. Yes – everyone does have a bit of OCD in them. I know I do for sure! I have a whole routine to de-germ hotel rooms (and it doesn’t matter how nice the hotel is, I have disinfectant wipes to clean everything!). I do travel a lot, but I’ve never worn a mask because I’m usually with my young children, and i don’t think it would work too well with them. (And I do notice every darn person who doesn’t cover their mouth or nose!)

  12. Elizabeth O. says:

    I am into the whole wearing a mask idea, especially when you travel. I don’t want to be the person bringing home a brand new virus and spreading it all over my home town. No, thank you. I would rather be safe and have people stare at me with my mask on.

  13. This issue is critical for me! I clean everything around me in a plane and try to get upgraded to first class. If a person is coughing, I have an attack. THEY should wear a mask! But usually I do. Randy, my hubster, had a double lung transplant two years ago and he ALWAYS wears a mask. Planes are a definite issue for him.

  14. I always get sick when I fly unless I wear a mask.

  15. I think you’re smarter than the average bear. 🙂 I don’t care if something looks silly or I’m laughed at for wearing a mask. You’ll be the last (healthy one) laughing. 🙂

  16. Czjai says:

    My son and I wear masks whenever we travel. Better safe than sorry. 🙂

  17. Carmela Mempin says:

    Wearing a mask is a must especially when we are going out from home, it’s a safe kit also to prevent virus.

  18. Rita says:

    It’s a good idea to wear a mask when you’re sick and travel on an airplane. The closed environment quickly spreads the germs to others.

    A friend on Facebook commented a while back that he ran when he saw people with masks at airports, think they are the germy ones. He’s wrong. Most people who wear masks are the ones trying to avoid germs. Unfortunately, people who have germs aren’t kind enough, nor informed enough, to wear masks.

  19. Aziel Morte says:

    I love wearing mask wherever I go and I need protection to the virus. It’s better to wear mask it’s a safety idea.

  20. Lisa Rios says:

    Personally I think most of us face such worse situation which later on leads to some sort of sickness. Though, I have thought of one such idea before I tend to hesitate a lot. It is always better to wear a mask rather than suffering later.

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