Would you ditch your mask?
Welcome to At The End Of the Day. I’m Hannah Sung and I write this to process a firehose of daily news.
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How was your 100-year-long week?
A bright spot for me was scoring tickets to a screening of a live BTS concert next weekend. The concert will be taking place in Seoul but I’ll be sitting in a theatre in downtown Toronto. I spent a lot of time trying to get the right seats before finally calling on the phone. A lovely woman helped me out.
“I wouldn’t want to disappoint your daughter,” she said before catching herself to add, “Or son.” I responded, “ME. The tickets are for ME.”
“Not that you need to know that,” I said, but I’m also not embarrassed. I’m excited. We both had a big laugh. I’m happy to take a LOL wherever I can get it.
Like you, I’m feeling the crush of a lot of heavy news this past week.
Some of the news coming out of Ukraine is extremely stressful, especially video involving bombs and people. At the risk of saying what you already know (“I know, Mo-om!”), take breaks from news updates. It’s okay. It’s healthy. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
I want a break myself. I know I could use one. Yesterday, I was sitting in a dentist’s chair with two fists in my mouth as the hygienist scraped my teeth and I thought, Ahh, it’s so nice to just sit here.
A few thoughts I had in the dentist’s chair:
I seem to have a lot of plaque. Am I normal? (I asked — yes)
Going to the dentist was so scary when the pandemic first started but look at us now!
If the mask mandate is dropped, as Ontario is saying it may be by the end of this month, will everyone tear off their masks à la high school graduation scenes in movies?
I immediately pictured myself at the BTS screening. I don’t want to sit in a theatre with others, unmasked. Not yet. I don’t want my kids to sit in their classrooms unmasked either. Not yet.
I sat in the dentist’s chair, exhausted. I thought, There is only one solution.
We need to make masks fashion. Don’t go writing a letter or starting a petition. This is the opposite of that energy. Making masks fashion is what we need in the “I don’t like rules” era of the pandemic.
Yesterday afternoon, I chatted with a 7-year-old who defied her mom by wearing a fuzzy bathrobe to school. “I wore it to be cozy,” she volunteered. (Hey, I wasn’t even asking! Her commitment to the look is its own explanation and I love it).
But this 7-year-old’s stubborn streak has nothing on teenagers. Just try to stop one from shrugging off their winter coat, hiding their glasses, and wearing inappropriate footwear. If you can imagine preferring to be freezing cold and unable to see, mincing through dirty slush in kitten heels, congrats! You have achieved time travel to my youth (don’t report back).
Imagine this energy went into masks. No rules, just fashion. People would either pay hand-over-fist for the most airtight, bedazzled N95s, dripping with gold chain or, they would DIY their own and the movie theatre would be a masquerade runway on BTS night.
Make masks fashion
A bit medieval but cute
I would wear this
New work-appropriate fit
Fashion over mandates. I’m only half-joking. Because truly, I don’t want to ditch masks yet.
I don’t want to mask forever or in every situation. I just wish masks didn’t carry symbolic significance. I wish they didn’t imply any politics. I wish they could be like wearing a scarf, or socks with sandals. Personal choice, no judgment on your style.
I know my kids will be taking off their masks in school at some point and I wish our schools were safer now that we’ve struggled through a global pandemic. It could have been possible — just look at my neighbourhood dentist’s office. They invested in multiple air purifiers, personal protective equipment and plexiglass room dividers, and now they can get into my mouth and scrape my teeth, no fear.
Instead, our provincial government withheld $5.5-billion that was budgeted for healthcare, education and social assistance. IN A PANDEMIC. They proudly saved that money. For what?
In many Asian countries, wearing a mask is NBD. You wear one if you want and that’s that. No politics implied and it’s for the good of the community.
That’s the vibe I want, for masks to be as normal as socks or a scarf and not something we’re rushing to rip off in a symbolic act of freedom.
As for my upcoming movie date, I’ve never been to a BTS-related event before but I hear the crowd is into masking and doing the right thing. I can see that. I know that masking rules won’t be dropped by next week. But what happens after that?
I’m going to sign off with a big congrats to Amie, Maggie and Marie, winners of my The School for Good Mothers giveaway, courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada.
Enjoy your weekend. Sending zzz vibes to friends having trouble staying asleep at night. Hope you all get a break.
✨✨✨ At The End Of the Day is edited by Laura Hensley ✨✨✨
The humanitarian and political reaction we’ve seen in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is what we should be seeing with every refugee crisis.
This is a whole, unfortunate thread. It isn’t surprising and it shouldn’t be about “choosing your words carefully,” as this reporter says. Words betray how deeply we’re enmeshed with white supremacy. The words are just a sign of the design flaw. Fix the bad code.
Want to help Ukraine? Several Canadian charities accepting monetary donations for humanitarian aid, Toronto Star
Advocates identify man found frozen to death at Toronto bus stop in January, CTV “I think all of us need to ask ourselves what kind of city we’ve let ourselves become a part of…that lets people sleep outside in the winter when it's cold enough to kill.”
More than 100 unhoused people died in Toronto this year. Some say the shelter system is 'crumbling quickly,' CBC
How a Toronto dog rescue’s quest to save animals has led to painful consequences for dogs and the people who love them, Toronto Star Rescue animals have never been in more demand. This is a cautionary tale about a behemoth in the Toronto rescue community
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Here’s what you do. Flip on your voice memo app and talk to me about the topics below. A recording of just a minute or two or three should do. Send the voice memo by hitting reply to this newsletter and attaching the voice memo.
Here’s what I’m asking
Tell me your first name and your city (if you want) and the age of your kids. And then go ahead and talk to me!
📱 On the topic of tech and parenting
What are your rules around tech for the kids? What do you allow them to do online? When did you give them their own device? What are the biggest issues you face?
📱 On the topic of teaching anti-racism and parenting
Are you struggling with what lessons to teach and when? Do you have a success story? Is there a particular conversation that comes to mind? Tell us about it
One success story in the pandemic in Quebec: dental clinics, Twitter thread
Where does one get a medieval mask?
Where does one get a giant Garfield head?
Where does one get a Maison Martin Margiela crystal face mask?