Day 44: Trailblazing in masks

Day 44 had it’s moments…Some were good. Some were nonsense. I feel like I kind of raised my voice a lot today though. And I don’t mean in an empowering assertion of self. I mean my girls (the small one in particular) kept doing things that could’ve led to their own demise and then I yelled. Nothing mean or nasty it’s just I think I should be able to prevent them from accidentally killing themselves without yelling.

In the calmer moments they played and I hid out in the kitchen reading Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens. (Read it!!) Between today’s rain showers we went bike riding and walked in the woods together (which was my favorite part.)

To say that Little Bean doesn’t like to stay on the path would be an understatement–it seems more that she doesn’t even notice a path is there at all. She says, Let’s go look for foxes and just bounds off into the brush like she is a fox. She nearly tumbled down a ravine looking at the water across the way. On the bike path she rides as close to the road as possible. It is my hope and prayer that this quality doesn’t kill her before it turns her into some kind of heroic trail blazer.

We did lots of things today but the one thing we did not do was go to a store, although they all have re-opened.

Just yesterday Bavaria updated it’s pandemic rules to require face masks in closed, public spaces. In the most basic sense I agree with this rule. It seems logical as a way to open things up and keep people safe. But I find myself avoiding the store when possible in a way that I didn’t do before. I just have an icky feeling about interacting with people at a store while wearing a mask.

I feel like I’m mentally becoming a shut-in. I keep imagining how I can get the plant store to deliver everything to me so that I don’t have to go there myself.

It’s more than that though. You see, as a rule, people in Franconia are not super friendly to people they don’t know. I always call it Franconian Friendliness. More often than not there is no smile when you enter a shop for example, but the people are always professional. As an American this is something you notice right away. We are really used to smiling and making strangers feel comfortable. Head nodding is something people do here, but waving does not really fly, especially in close quarters. Hand shaking between acquaintances and friends or at a doctor’s office is very important in this culture especially among the older folks. So this distancing has been difficult for them. When you run into a person you know they almost always point to the social distancing rules kind of apologizing for not being able to shake hands. I’ve never gotten used to the hand shaking expectation here so for me this is no problem.

Getting back to the point–once this distancing began two different things happened. One was that many people just started ignoring each other all together. The already distant culture got more distant. The other thing that happened though is that some people started smiling more. Without the other norms, people’s smiles have actually gotten a bit more use in recent weeks and I’ve really delighted in this development.

Now that this mask rule has been established the smiles are hidden. The one and only way that we could communicate friendliness is gone. I will brave the store at some point this week–mask and all–and then I might change my tune. Keep you posted.

Until tomorrow,

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