10) unmask and the city

My December to Remember: Day 10

Sex and the City was a genuinely accurate portrait of late 90’s, early 2000’s New York City. At least if you happened to have an endless bank account. All four women were so glamorous and lovely. They made navigating this city so effortless, and make life here look like endless opportunities were abound if you only turned down the right side street.

Unfortunately, the reboot And Just Like That doesn’t quite capture that New York anymore. I will be talking more about this series separately (in what medium yet I do not know), but this felt like a good as any jumping point today. Because one thing I noticed in the reboot is this: not one New Yorker is wearing a mask. This, despite portions of the script paying attention the fact that we have emerged from a global pandemic. The ladies in AJLT have already gone post-pandemic. And while I’ve been in my own post-pandemic world since June 2020, the rest of this city has not. Clearly not the state, either, as installed Governor Kathy Hochul just implemented a mask mandate again because we have too many cases of the new yearly flu. During flu season. In December.

This made me wonder because I still see plenty of people outside all masked up. I’m not here to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. I’m actually seeing a lot of people say that having a mask on curbs their social anxiety in a way that wasn’t possible before. I’m not about to tell someone that they’re wrong for that. But what I will do is ask people who don’t fight the instinct to do as they’re told, why they’re complying with such utter nonsense.

I’m sorry guys, I know we all had to do our part way back in the day, but today is not that day. The pandemic is behind us. You can be cute and say we’re in an ‘endemic’ now. But for real, where do you draw the line for yourself? I’ve “demasked” and never felt better. And the ladies of AJLT I’m sure feel better. In a show where nothing is cohesive and every moment is unearned and weird, the strangest thing of all for me is seeing no masks on New Yorkers. Because they’re not there yet. And it’s sad.

Personally I think a lot of people keep the mask on because it’s cold out. I genuinely see that as a reason. And whatever, no skin off my nose. But what happens when it gets hot out again? Are you going to wait for the sign to come down before you take it off your face, or are you going to try something new and tell those in power to finally fuck off?

Listen, you can snark about this Manhattan shithole all you want. But I live here. I work here. I was born here. I’ve loved here. And I’m not ready to wave my white flag and give up on her just yet. This city has a lot of healing left to do. We’ve left the bandage on too long without changing it. We just keep going back and doing the same thing we’ve always done: listen to whatever everyone else tells us to do. New York Strong means strong New Yorkers. We don’t need to be nasty or rude or spit in everyone’s face. We just need to actually be strong. Know what’s right and what’s just for show. Who are you doing that for, everyone else or just yourself?

It will end soon. These extraordinary measures to curb something that we’ve done everything conceivably possible to curb are nothing but overreach at this point. And New Yorkers will soon see. We are not stupid nor are we uneducated. We just like to bend over and take it a little too much. That’s all. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved being on the giving end of things. But not if you keep covering my mouth about it.

Wake up and smell the coffee from the street carts and kick down the corner Covid testing spots. We’re better than this, New York.

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