A couple observations from the first UNGAGGED bus trip in two fucking years.
1. I had been rigorously minimizing Time Under Ballgag, with only two hellish storetrips per week. Before the Nazi takeover I was generally doing three trips, because they were enjoyable. Now I can return to three when needed, but the concomitant changes in diet and online ordering will probably allow two most of the time. Now it’s not an aversive constraint, just a choice.
2. I made a point of exchanging a happy greeting with the driver. I’m not much of a smiler and greeter in normal times, but this is not normal times.
3. At the point where I board the bus, there were typically two passengers already seated. Today there were TEN. In other words, many other people had also been minimizing.
LETTING PASSENGERS BREATHE IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS. SHOCKING! WHODA THUNK IT?
4. At one stop near downtown there were two people waiting to board. Both were about 25, both middle-class business types going to work. One male, one female. Both were muzzled while waiting. When the male saw the driver’s ungagged face, he instantly ripped off his muzzle and smiled. He clearly wasn’t certain about the new rule. The female kept her muzzle on. Nicely fits my initial observation that younger females are the most aggressive and eager self-strangulators. They are courtiers seeking the favor of Holy Pope Fauci, Blessed Be Her/His Pronoun.
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CORRECTION AND APOLOGY! Two days later, the female mentioned above is unmuzzled. She just took longer to get past the decision point. As usual I was too ready to ass-u-me the worst. The same two-step process happened last month when the muzzle mandate in stores was halted or paused. On the first day there wasn’t much change, and I ass-u-me-d the worst. On the second day most people had gained enough confidence to start breathing. (The store situation was less clear-cut because the stores hadn’t been enforcing the torture.)
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Others have noted the same two-step on airplanes. 20% muzzled on first day after change, then 10% muzzled two days later. I saw exactly the same percentages on the bus.