I did something revolutionary yesterday.
I walked into an establishment without wearing a mask. In California.
Nobody mobbed me. Nobody shrieked and pointed.
In fact, at Old Town Coffee in Goleta, people, including the employees, seemed indifferent. You could almost feel the shrug.
Everyone else coming in off the street was wearing a mask, and kept them on while standing in line and ordering. Picture-perfect compliance.
I had made the decision before I approached the door that I would not put a mask on. I am fed up with being mindlessly obedient and bowing to unscientific, totalitarian mandates. What do I have to lose here? A cup of coffee? A scrumptious pastry? Pffft.
Oh. My. God. My heart expanded and almost flew out of my chest.
Later, I looked up TheHealthyAmerican-dot-org, a website started about a year ago by educator and activist Peggy Hall, a resident of Southern California, some hundred miles south of me.
By the time I finished looking through the website I decided to order their religious exemption supporting material so I’d have a legal-looking piece of paper to wave around if anyone tried to force masking, testing, or vaccinating upon my sovereign person. Even better, there’s a laminated card on a lanyard to proudly wear and proclaim your (legal and justifiable) defiance.
It’s my understanding that mask mandates are unconstitutional. So is mandatory testing. So is being told, “You must take the vaccine in order to travel, or go to school, or keep your job, or receive medical treatment…” Inalienable rights are supposed to mean you can’t be denied them.
They can’t make us do this, people. Not in the United States of America. Why the heck is anybody here putting up with this?
My excuse has been sheer laziness. Coupled with fear of the consequences of “disobedience.” Coupled with thinking, oh, we’ll be past this nonsense soon. In a week or two the charade will be over, everybody will know the truth, and freedom will once again be mine. Without my having to do a whole lot.
However, since I’ve been thinking along those lines for over a year now, a hitherto unsuspected inner rebel has apparently lost patience with my complacency. It just rose up and gave me a good poke.
Hey! You hate wearing masks. You’re never going to get vaccinated. You’re not going to ever want to take a test purportedly designed to determine if you have the disease, since you know the tests don’t do diddly squat with any accuracy.
You have done too much research and learned too much to put any credence in what the establishment keeps telling you.
Why do you continue wearing a mask to buy your groceries? Or to do anything else inside a building? Why are you going along to get along?
When I approached my local Trader Joe’s this morning, there was a pleasant-looking middle-aged woman dithering over the cart selection outside. She pointed to a cart and remarked, “Someone just brought this one back. I’d better take another.”
I gave her a smile and zipped over to nab the cart that she had rejected. Scandalized, she demanded, “You don’t care that it hasn’t been sanitized?”
I said, “It’s not like it’s covered with dynamite. Or anything else. Do your research.”
And flounced on into the store, blithely pushing my “contaminated” cart. I mentally reviewed the previous ten seconds as I donned the much-reviled mask. Had I been rude? Did I make that woman feel bad?
Did I care?
Not a whole lot. With luck, I might have given her something to ponder. What did she mean, do my research? Research what? Perhaps a seed was planted.
A short time later, another customer told me to pull my mask up over my nose, and I told the young woman to mind her own business and quit virtue-signaling. I can’t remember ever having what amounted to a confrontation like that. It was extremely mild, by most standards, but just short of fisticuffs by mine.
Bristling behavior is not my usual way. My public persona is generally of the don’t-rock-the-boat variety. I don’t like being noticed. I don’t like having to defend myself or promote the notion of inalienable rights. Let other people make waves.
What is going on?
I don’t think it’s coincidental that I experienced these small rebellions yesterday and today. I don’t think it’s coincidental that I decided to order religious exemption material in an effort to legitimize my shaky stands for freedom.
I believe we all have a limit to our tolerance for being pulverized by tyranny. I didn’t know what mine was or give it much thought. I just went along to get along.
I don’t think that’s an option anymore. It’s not going to be enough to not wear the mask “unless I have to.” Because what’s next? Not get tested “unless I have to”? Not get vaccinated “unless I have to”?
Will the religious exemption material work? Will it be honored anywhere or everywhere?
I have my doubts. What I don’t doubt is that I will feel better for having made this effort. It feels uplifting to become more knowledgable about my rights as a U.S. citizen and obtain the material to help support my quest to fully embody the freedom I believe in.
I will feel better having that laminated lanyard to haul out if someone tries to act as an enforcer of tyranny (though they likely believe they are just doing their job, as might I in their place).
When I act upon the quiet dictates of conscience, something settles in, a faltering dove reaching the sturdy branch where it can regroup and ready itself for the next lap of its inexorable flight toward freedom.