I've just about had my fill of these folks whose "dissing," or rudeness and mistreatment of restaurant wait staff go viral on social media.
In fact, I'm a bit worried that these Princes and Princesses Charming are going to start bragging that their rudeness brought notoriety, sympathy and money to the dissed servers ... and keep right on being pure-D heels.
I say this after the latest news story of a server-diss gone viral. Once more, with feeling: Restaurant posts rule saying diners must wear masks to enter restaurant and while up wandering. Mask-Rebel customer dislikes rule. Mask-Rebel customer takes frustration out on server trying to enforce rule. Mask-rebel customer's dissing of server goes viral on social media. Server gets generous monetary contributions.
Having discussed mask-wearing several times in this space, I'll preface my further ravings with stating that I don't like wearing masks either. Yes, they make it really hard to breathe sometimes. Yes, my glasses/sunglasses are subject to fog up. Yes, there's apparently such a thing as "maskne," or mask acne ... which, thank God, apparently evades oldsters. Yes, it would be nice to be able to wear lipstick again. Yes, it can be disconcerting to have to smell one's own breath, whatever fragrance of the day one's breath happens to be.
And I get it about being downright frustrated. "Covid fatigue" is real. We've been stuck on this island for far too long. Gilligan and the Skipper — and the Howells, Ginger, Mary Ann and the Professor — aren't so fun to hang out with anymore. Home is where the heart is, but home can be a drag when it's where our buns are perpetually parked. All any of us wants is our life back, in its unrestricted, (relatively) freewheeling glory.
But disobeying the law, or "killing the messenger" because of a personal dislike of the law, profiteth nothing. Well, not for the disser anyway, as we see with these Server Gets Dissed, Tells the Tale on Social Media stories. But keep in mind: These stories are exceptions to the rule. I cringe when thinking of the countless restaurant servers who are mistreated by Mask Rebels, denied a tip, and are forced to just suck it up.
Those are the servers I fear will be the targets of folk who'll say to themselves: "OK, so I sarcastically wrote the word 'Mask' on my receipt instead of leaving a tip. So what? They'll just complain online and get way more money than I would have tipped 'em."
But I'd like to think that my fear is magnified; that it's just a symptom of covid-weariness in general, Mask Fight Story-weariness in particular.
Because I am definitely sick of hearing about people fighting over wearing masks. The headlines about restaurant servers being terrorized by those who don't want to follow mask rules take turns with the headlines about brawls in public places and on mass transit over masks. "It's all about a mask, and it didn't need to get that way," opined a nearby passenger after a face-covering-related free-for-all on an Allegiant Airlines flight.
In all fairness, let me scold from both sides of the issue. Just as there are Mask Rebels wreaking havoc with their rebellions, we have Mask Police wreaking havoc ... private citizens who become aggressive in their rebukes of Mask Rebels. And the beat goes on.
My admonition to would-be Mask Rebels — and Mask Police, despite the latter's warranted fear of sickness/death: There are instances where civil disobedience is understandable. This isn't it. Choose your battles wisely. If the law or rule is to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you see somebody not wearing a mask in a spot where they've been asked to wear one, take the advice of the experts quoted in online stories: quietly ask that person to don a mask. Mention the expert recommendations, rather than sounding like it's an order coming from the Book of You. (Have a disposable mask handy to give the person, I would add, in case they listen to you.) If you're in a business establishment, ask a manager to ask that person to wear a mask. Or just steer clear of Mask Rebels and the places they're likely to congregate. If you're a Mask Rebel, steer clear of places that will require you to wear one.
And those of us who appreciate restaurant servers — and the health risks they've been taking to put food on their tables, as well as ours — would do well to tip them generously in the first place. Not just when they're publicly or famously dissed.
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