When I walk around public spaces now — no matter where — I find myself thinking about the vaccination status of those around me and whether some reckless person will turn me into a vector for disease that will get my father-in-law or my friends' kids sick. Pre-vaccines, I remember lamenting that the pandemic had the negative effect of making ‘other people’ dangerous. But I’d argue this post-vaccination moment has a more pernicious social effect. I am weirdly more aware and skeptical of ‘other people,’ despite the unvaccinated being a minority in the country.
We have a mask mandate for all indoor locations where I live (we didn't most of the spring and summer, but it came back when Delta hit hard),and recently I've been playing a game when I go to public places that goes something like this: let's see how long it is until I see someone who looks like a more out-of-shape Joe Rogan without a mask on.
That's it, that's the game. I usually don't have to wait too long, and frankly, it's just like 1-2% of people who aren't following the rules, but it's not a game I'm particularly proud to be playing in my head. I'm usually one to see the good in people first, but even I am feeling less generous to people than I used to.
Of course I feel my anger is justified, as do those who I'm angry with…
As Warzel points out, this rage has to go somewhere, and it can't keep escalating at this rate. I don't know how we cool things down, but I'll try to do my part to reduce the anger coming from me, even if I'm not always successful.