It was going to happen.
What it was, was in the fullness of time, my phone and Internet plan came up for renewal, and there was a better and faster and cheaper plan available but, as we used to say, you had to fuck a moose (this was the generic term in my home, back in the day, for direct-mail Free Offers of Wonderful Things that only required you to drive somewhere two hours away, or Sit Through A Short Presentation). Meaning, in this case, that equipment inside and outside the house had to be changed out, which meant blocking out a morning, which is definitely a First World Problem, but in These Our Times it’s also a “someone has to come in my house in the age of plagues” problem.
We do not screw around with this thing. If someone has to cross my threshold, the casement windows get cranked open in any weather that won’t blow out the HVAC, all the Corsi-Rosenthal boxes are always running and we wear N95s. Belt and braces. The wild card is making sure the workpeople who show up wear something better than a dishrag on their faces and keep it on (some people think that “taking breaks” is a thing). It gives me white hairs, more so with time as people continue to kid themselves that Covid is over for some mysterious reason (since people are still catching it, still dying from it in their thousands every week in the US, and still getting permanently ill from it).
So I get the “on my way” call from “Antoine,” who asks if I’m sick (fair enough; I have a husky voice and it’s usually either “Do you have a cold?” or “Sir”). When I say no, but we will all wear masks and will ask you to wear one, he flat out refuses.
To wear a fucking mask. For a half hour service call.
I repeat that we have plenty, and that no one comes in our house without a mask on. Then we’ll have to reschedule the call, he says.
I cannot imagine what makes anyone so brittle that it will break him to put some blown-fiber fabric over his face, but there it was. One conversation with customer service and an hour later, a delightful gentleman showed up with a black surgical mask on — okay, but not really good enough. I handed him a KN95, the kind with a seam and nosepiece so that it fits your face without squashing your nose, and he thanked me and did the job, and when it was done thanked me again. “This is so comfortable! I could wear this all day!” (I kind of heard it in the voice of Steve Rogers, musical version. 2:35.)
I tore the endflap off the box and gave him the Amazon ordering info. A little sad that after three years of a pandemic someone who has to go into people’s houses all day long hasn’t been offered effective PPE by his employer. Glad I could help.