My timing couldn't be any better. Friday, May 21, was exactly two weeks after my final dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Three days later, Maine lifted the mask requirements for those that are fully vaccinated and many businesses started allowing those that are vaccinated, in their stores without wearing a mask on the honor system.

It was a very weird feeling when I walked into Hannaford Supermarket on Forest Avenue on the first day without a mask requirement. I felt like I wasn't wearing pants. Something that I had become so accustomed to putting on whenever I entered a space with others, was no longer needed for me, yet others were still wearing masks.

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The lack of a mask actually gave me a bit of anxiety or even paranoia. I knew that I was perfectly fine to wear the mask. I'd had my shots, had waited the two weeks and according to the CDC, I was fine to not wear a mask. Were people looking at me though? That woman wheeling her cart past me wearing her mask. Did she give me the eye? Is she judging me? Does she think I may be one of those that actually wasn't vaccinated, but knowing that it wasn't going to be enforced, decided not to wear one?

She doesn't know me. She doesn't know that I always drive the speed limit, as much as it bothers everyone else behind me on Route 302 each morning. She doesn't know that I will wait for a red light at 3 a.m. without another car in sight. She doesn't know that I always return my cart to the cart corral after I unload my groceries. She doesn't know that I always count the items in my basket, and even if I have 11 items, I won't go through the express lane.  I'm a rule follower and I'm not breaking any rules lady!

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I walked into a convenience store to use the restroom after a long drive this week. I didn't see any signs requiring masks so I didn't put mine on. As I walked through the store everyone I saw had a mask on. After using the restroom and washing my hands, I put my mask on. I don't want to be judged. Why am I so worried about this?

Judging others. That's the problem. No one wants to be judged. Making assumptions about people just based on their actions, their dress, or even their looks is just wrong. I did it myself. I judged the woman in the grocery store thinking she was judging me for not wearing a mask. There's no possible way for me to know that.

I think we all have to give each other the benefit of the doubt and not worry about what others do or don't do. I'm guilty of it, but it stops here because I don't like feeling this way. You know the old saying. Don't assume, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME.

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