Latex? Fibreglass? Woven threads of something definitely not organic.
Discarded disposable baby blue face masks are now a ubiquitous fact of our everyday world. But not just from the perspective of not spreading the virus through respiration, out our noses and mouths, into our noses and mouths. Not just where to buy them, and then how to get them sitting properly on the front of our lower faces: those masks persist long after we have used them and personally “disposed” of them. Our flâneur research has taught us that, once disposed of, these robin's egg blue medical masks join the family of other objects we encounter in our normal-goings-about-town which provoke disgust, fear and total revulsion: maggots in the bottom of the City Green bins: wriggling gag-scented grains of living rice. A used swollen tampon in a pink puddle on the floor of the public swimming pool bathroom. An ankle-high pile of yellowed cigarette butts on either side of the exit to the Canadian Legion or Red Chevron. A pus-coloured translucent used condom where we parkthe car to walk the dog in the daytime. That time I reached up under the Greyhound bus seat during my night cleaning shift for ONR and sinking all four fingers deep into a Pampers diaper absolutely turgid with some stranger’s child’s diarrhea.
That robin’s egg masks rolling in the Guelph General Hospital parking lot is, among these disgusting objects of our lives, uniquely & complexly abject: sometimes it still bears the profile and moistness of the person who just removed it after coming out of an MRI or bed-side visit. But, not always. Sometimes they are flat, folded, perfectly clean: Mr & Mrs' nobody’s little 6 square inches of baby blue paper lined with who knows what to keep microorganisms out while ensuring comfortable wear, even for 20 minutes.