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I am pro-mask. I wear a mask at school. I wear a mask at the store. I wear a mask downtown. But for some reason, I don’t wear one when I walk the dog(s) in my neighborhood. Sometimes, I just forget. I get the leash on, the boots on, the poop bags in the pocket, and I’m down the driveway before I realize: I forgot my mask.

Mostly, if I am honest, I don’t want to be bothered, and that bothers me.

I know I can and do cross the road to be way far away from others in the open air. But my neighbors are masked when they are walking their dogs. No one has said a thing to me beyond a kind greeting and a wave, just like pre-Covid, but I can hear it their eyes: where’s your mask?

Or maybe that’s the voice in my head: where’s my mask?

And still, I go walking the dogs without one. I certainly don’t want to be like those people — those idiots who use their anti-masks stance as some political protest. That’s not me. I should wear the mask when walking the dogs.

I know it.

I don’t.

I can’t explain it.