0523blog

Pass the Mask

COVID 19 was a godsend for those of us with RBF and now that masks are no longer required for people who have been vaccinated, RBF is back with a vengeance. For those who have been living in a cave, RBF is shorthand for Resting Bitch Face, which I have, and fortunately I never had the more serious version, known as CBF or Constant Bitch Face. It was such a relief to keep my countenance a secret but then came the COVID-19 vaccine and my world has once again become a living purgatory, well that’s a bit of a reach, though losing the mask has added one more unwanted complication to my life.

Ever since I was in high school, people have accused me of having RBF and I got really tired of explaining myself but then came COVID 19 and I welcomed the plague because it concealed my RBF as long as I stayed the Lone Ranger. The thing about RBF is that it often gives an impression that is largely misunderstood because despite the look on my visage, I don’t walk around filled with hatred, disdain, antipathy, arrogance, aversion, contempt, derision, dislike, scorn, contumely, despisal, disparagement, haughtiness, insolence, loftiness, sneering, snobbishness, superciliousness or even superbity. How could I have superbity, I don’t even know what the word means and spell check can’t even identify it. The simple fact is that my resting, facial gesture usually has nothing to do with how I am my feeling other than that I am resting. If you judged by the sullen faces of drivers and passengers in cars and other vehicles, you would assume that mass murder and destruction is coming but because that is not the case, then RBF must be irrelevant and misleading. Of course I may coincidentally be angry or disturbed and what seems to be RBF really is “IAPORN” or “I Am Pissed Off Right Now,” a condition that reached new heights during the trump years.

RBF can wreck marriages, destroy friendships, cost jobs, anger colleagues and we who are so afflicted are so sick and tired of being asked why we don’t smile more and what’s wrong and are you sick and can I help? I don’t smile more because I don’t want to smile more, nothing is wrong and no, why would I need your help when nothing is wrong.

You know the face, it’s the young model who looks for all the world like she wants to punch your lights out; it’s Bob Dylan whose penetrating, angry look says keep far, far away because you are so inferior; it’s Vivien Leigh whose look as Scarlett O’Hara and Blanch DuBois would frighten away all but the most defiant men; it’s “Tardar Sauce,” better known by his meme name as “Grumpy Cat,” who looks like nothing could ever please him, not even chicken; it’s Hillary Clinton, whose icy stare could cause mountains to crumble; its Queen Elizabeth II, who invented the word dour and showed it for all to see and misunderstand; and as for infamous people, trump and hitler were both definitely RBF but their vile and odious facial gestures were just what they seemed, so they really had “ABF” or “Always Bitch Face.”

The end to facial masks also will see a return of the hug, and for those of us who treasure our personal space, we dread that a mask-less nation will lead to embrace by a spurious colleague, an overbearing great aunt or that faux friend you bump into at the ShopRite who you haven’t seen in months because you didn’t want to see him and who hasn’t taken a bath in weeks. And losing the mask is a particular affront to those who just can’t stomach the phony, required hugs, especially from those who are wearing clothing that should be decontaminated.

Equally tragic are those who suffer from agoraphobia who have a debilitating dread about going anywhere past their front door and thought they were finally safe staying home, without explanation and without raising questions, during the pandemic. Many adults with autism and sexual abuse survivors are equally fearful and repulsed by physical contact, so they too would like it if the pandemic remained around indefinitely.

And dancing, we are expected to get back to dancing, which I generally abhor unless it’s dancing with a partner in the dark. I don’t even remember how to dance as I did in my 20s when dancing was just orchestrated chaos. And I can travel again, only problem is I can’t afford to travel. Give me back my mask.

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Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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