“It’s rude to stare!”, most of us were told as kids. Just how rude you only realise when you’re sitting in a near empty train carriage, minding your own business, when a man in a face mask gets on, takes his seat, swivels in your direction and fixes you with a long, long, cold, hard, death look.
Culturally we’re all so unused to this kind of behaviour that it comes as quite a shock to be on the receiving end. It’s also a bit confusing – like being subjected to physical assault but only in the form of mime. That’s why my immediate response was to mime back disbelievingly, mouthing and gesticulating the message: “Are you staring at me?”
“Yes I am staring at you. You’re not wearing a mask. Everyone else is wearing a mask. But not you. Why aren’t you wearing a mask? I don’t want to wear a mask either but I’m wearing a mask because we’ve all been told to,” he shouted – or rather mumble-yelled from being his mouth-muffler.
With Britain heading towards its worst economic disaster in three centuries — ‘a severe recession the likes of which we haven’t seen’, warns the Chancellor — you might imagine that at least some backbench Conservative MPs would be asking pertinent questions about their government’s increasingly dubious-looking lockdown policy.
“Is it worth destroying thousands of businesses, millions of jobs, and the prosperity of the world’s fifth-largest economy for the sake of a disease which on current mortality rates looks no deadlier than seasonal flu?” might be a good one to start with.