No, I did not wear a mask when I stepped into the Goodman Theatre lobby Monday evening. Yes, I had read the explicit instructions in their email earlier that day.“Remember that face coverings are required for all patrons attending the performance, regardless of vaccination status. We will provide a mask if someone in your party is in need.”
Why? The usual selfishness that greases our slide through life. I got my vaccination in April. So I’m OK. Besides, you never know how strict such instructions are. An actual, bar-you-at-the-door requirement, like the Lyric Opera’s iron rule that if you arrive 10 seconds past curtain you have to stand there like an idiot, watching a monitor? Or mere cover-your-butt legalese winked at by those in the know?
I grasped it was the former when a polite young man intercepted me three steps through the door, offering a basket of paper masks. I apologized, fumbling for the familiar lump in my pocket. I had brought my own, just in case.
Why not? I shovel the sidewalk in front of my house, use my turn signal, all the usual concessions to being part of a community. I can do a mask, too. Though I am human, and don’t like being inconvenienced. Sitting in the theater beforehand, it occurred to me that once the play starts, I could slip my mask down in the darkness and nobody would be the wiser.
“All patrons must wear a mask before, during and after the performance,” a voice announced. Twice.
Darn, I thought.
I didn’t fear that if I slipped the mask under my nose, someone would hit me with a handheld spotlight, the way Blue Man Group shamed patrons slipping into the theater after the show began while a voice boomed “Late! LATE! LAAAAAAATE!!!”
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