Masks Are Like Windshields: Stop Yelling!

Take an average, level-headed woman, whose friends and family wouldn’t describe her as hot tempered, put her behind the wheel of a car and cut her off in traffic. That calm, well-mannered person becomes a lunatic, screaming and giving the bird. The steering wheel is the great equalizer when it comes to entitlement and outbursts. On the street, would you ever scream at someone who bumped into you or was walking too slowly ahead of you? Most of us wouldn’t, and most of us have experienced road rage, becoming something unrecognizable to ourselves.

Our newly mandated masks seem to be providing a similar shield and get out of jail free card. I have heard too many stories of people yelling at other people, for everything from walking the wrong way down the cereal aisle, to sitting at a safe distance from a friend to riding a bike down the street. Enough! Stop yelling at people who are in the same struggle, stop judging children who are safely playing outside, and stop imposing your own set of rules on those who have the common sense to understand and follow the ones the government is enforcing. We do not have to live in blind, irrational fear. If watching a child get fresh air at a very safe distance from you inspires terror and anger, you might consider staying inside or getting serious about some stress-reducing techniques. Stress lowers our immune system. The intensity of stress felt by a person screaming at a stranger puts them at more risk than being at a safe distance from a non-symptomatic person trying to buy food or get some fresh air.

Emotions are high, anxiety is understandable. Shaming other people who pose no risk is unacceptable. With all we’ve lost, let’s try to hold onto our civility and respect.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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