Meandering Monday about Masks and Dehumanization

I’m tired of not seeing people. All I see is masks.

I went into a retail store recently. There were about a half dozen sales girls there to help out customers, and it was one of those times when I needed help (No – not the kind of help MY SIGNIFICANT ONE says I need all the time.) One of the girls was very helpful, but a minute after she walked away, I remembered something else I meant to ask her, but I couldn’t figure out which one was her. It seems ridiculous – the girls had different heights, builds, mostly different hair colors and hairstyles, but I couldn’t narrow it down to less than three of the girls.

So I didn’t ask any of them – the idea of admitting that I couldn’t remember who had been so helpful within a minute just felt embarrassing, and even a bit insulting to me.

Maybe I’m making too much of it, but it’s how I feel.

As I’m passing people in the stores, I make eye contact and smile, and hope that the smile travels from my invisible mouth to my eyes, but I don’t see the smile reflected in their eyes – either my smile isn’t translating, or they’re not smiling, or their smile is remaining invisible, too. It’s hard to judge.

It’s not bad enough that between lockdowns and CDC guidelines we’ve been separated from other human beings. We have people deliberately trying to change us from fellow humans to subdividing us into competing – even warring groups. Do we really need to teach schoolchildren to only think of themselves as members of one demographic or another? To emphasize the color of each other’s skin above all else? Whatever happened to MLK’s dream that we would judge each other, NOT by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character?

Yes, just like lots of other holidays, the real meaning of MLK’s birthday is lost. Memorial Day is to remember the fallen. Easter isn’t just about rabbits and eggs. Christmas isn’t just about what you want to find under the tree. Thanksgiving isn’t only the starting gun for us to try to beat each other to the stores.

I digress – but this is MEANDERING Monday, isn’t it?

I take online surveys, and they seem to also be subdividing us more and more, too. More than two genders (Exactly what does a survey learn about likes from people who aren’t male or female? How does that effect their marketing?) Several different races, nationalities, skin colors (strangely, it seems that all white/Caucasian people are the same – no choices for Italians, Poles, Swedes, French, Brits, etc. to distinguish themselves. I feel under-represented…)

I wish they’d have the option under RACE to select: HUMAN.

The divisions don’t need to be emphasized. We’re better served if we can just remember that we are all the same under those masks.

Just saying…

Current Book Promotions

In a Flash Detective Jimmy Delaney eBook CoverPurrMission-MainTall_025For information on my current promotions (including the FREE Presale and reduced price preorders for Cats of War III, my participating books in the 14th Annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale, as well as FREE starter eBooks for my Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series and my Detective Jimmy Delaney series), look HERE on my CURRENT BOOK PROMOTIONS page.

Reaching Out

William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily Science Fiction and The Arcanist. His ninety or so short stories and related collections can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

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