Service of It’s Not Over Until……….

August 25th, 2022

Categories: Bus Trips, Empathy, Mask, Medical Care, New York City, Pandemic

If you are of a certain age and you grew up in NYC you may have fond memories of conversations between strangers especially on the bus. I learned at my mother’s knee; she was an expert. Such chats happen today but not nearly as often.

This week I was on a bus–they still require passenger to wear masks–when I heard juicy hacking coming from the only person without a mask, the woman in the photo above. I jumped out of my seat to move back.

Meanwhile another passenger called out to the cougher: “Put on your mask!” The entitled woman claimed she wasn’t sick but found a mask and put it on, mumbling as she did.

The proactive passenger and I started speaking about stores we liked and states we enjoyed visiting–and as I was about to get off she told me that she was on the way to get chemo for kidney cancer. She didn’t have to explain that she couldn’t afford to catch a cold or worse. The selfish or lazy or clueless fellow passenger clearly hadn’t thought about others who were sharing her space. Maybe she found the mask uncomfortable. Too bad.

Bus drivers no longer enforce the mask issue.

The website reports: “There are currently high transmission levels of COVID-19 throughout the city, so you should continue to take the following precautions: Wear a high-quality mask in all public indoor settings and around crowds outside. Stay up-to-date on vaccinations.”

Does the pandemic appear to be over according to people you know and see when you’re out and about? What prevents people from thinking of others, concerned only with their comfort?

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18 Responses to “Service of It’s Not Over Until……….”

  1. BC Said:

    Covid is occasionally In our little community. Many take cruises or travel during the hottest time here. With home testing, hard to get a handle on Incidence, as folks do not report positives to Public Health. Those who are positive, are having mild cases, just like the common cold. Some, if it seems like a head cold , do not even get tested. Those with a cough should wear a mask, as fomites can travel 20 to 30 feet.,depending on the strength of the cough.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I can only guess that many of those who test positive in the NY Metro area, especially if they are older than 65, have diabetes or compromised immune systems etc. tell a doctor who reports the case. Otherwise surely many cases here also go unreported.

    Taxis and car services are prohibitively expensive. I would guess the woman heading for chemo might be saving a trip home in one for after treatment. We were both closer to the woman who coughed than 20-30 feet. I’m still angry at her.

  3. Hank Goldman Said:

    I wear my mask. It’s not over

  4. ASK Said:

    I wear a mask on public transportation, but most people I see on the buses and subways do not. And I have never heard anyone publicly berate another person for not wearing one. Aren’t the masks supposed to protect the wearer as well as the others?

    I have relatives in their mid-80s (one with rheumatoid arthritis) who were vaccinated, have had Covid and have not suffered anything beyond symptoms typical of a bad cold. I don’t know whether it’s over or not, but I personally try to be careful.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I do too. Several people I either know or know of have recently had Covid.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    It’s the long term Covid that’s the troublesome issue now that we’ve been boosted.

    If I had immunity issues, as the woman who asked the other woman to put on her mask is, and I heard the cough she had, I’d have asked her to put on a mask as well. My chicken plan was to move as far away from her as I could.

    As I’ve understood it, a mask protects others from you.

  7. lucrezia Said:

    People in general appear to be tired with/of Covid. Today one runs into an increasing amount of folks who, despite vaccines plus boosters get sick anyway. The good news is nobody dies or seems to suffer.

    Hopefully, the inconsiderate person on the bus is like me, a former chain smoker. Two years after I stopped, I started to cough – at times, non-stop. Covid scared some of the cough away, but random episodes persist.

    The mask may serve as a deterrent, and makes folks feel better, but face it: If you suddenly morphed into a virus, you and your minuscule friends could invade any mask you pleased, no matter how tight. This doesn’t excuse the bus lady. It wouldn’t have hurt to obey the law, and if she was really feeling unwell, she should have stayed home.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I get coughing jags when getting over some colds where a tickle lodges itself deep down and won’t be calmed. Who knows if I’m still contagious? That nice woman wouldn’t want to find out.

    Under the circumstances and after all we have been through—even some report monkeypox can be airborne—it doesn’t cost much to create a wall, if an imperfect one, to quell viruses. It’s not the only thing—distance and vaccines help—but a mask doesn’t hurt.

    I suspect many who have been diligent about masks have experienced fewer colds.

  9. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: Sadly I’ve never seen a bus driver enforce the mask guideline, even back in 2020. While I wish they would, I understand why they don’t — they really have no authority and don’t want to risk the wrath, or potentially far worse, of riders.
    Horrifies me at how few people mask up these days. I think they’ve just grown tired. But it’s foolish as people are still getting covid, even after being vaccinated and boosted, and some are getting it for the second time.
    As for the chemo patient, why for heaven’s sake was she taking the bus?! Even if you can’t afford a taxi or Uber, there are medical vans available. Very sad.

  10. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: Coping with apathy is very stressful. KN95 for me indoors especially on public transportation

  11. Lucille Grippo Said:

    I think the utter disregard of other people and entitlement has exploded 10 fold since this pandemic.

  12. Edward Baecher Said:

    Edward on Facebook: Bus drivers can’t be blamed for not enforcing anything, they want to go home without physical harm. Up here, 80 miles north of the city people are still very volatile over this mask. Our shop is going through round two this year with no end in sight, it’s the new normal.

  13. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I didn’t take transportation during the pandemic until I’d received my vaccines but once I had, I heard many a bus driver ask for masks. There were also recordings asking people to put them on. As for the medical van, I’d take my chances on a fairly empty public bus –which the local was about 12:45 on a weekday–over a medical van that might have carried someone sick with something I might catch. I also don’t know how reliable the vans are–do they get you to your appointment on time?

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:


    KN95 is serious and you are right. I’m using up my boxes of lightweight masks and keeping my distance when I can.

  15. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t expect a driver to enforce anything. We need to protect ourselves best we can in a bustling city. In upstate communities where 96 percent of the population drives cars [I saw buses when I lived there but not many] a mask isn’t as essential as it is in the city. Indoors, good ventilation is crucial. Where I used to rent office space the ventilation was MINUS 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.

  16. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t disagree but wonder if we need to depend on one another to do the right thing now more than ever, so we notice those who fly in the face of empathy and caring, ignoring that others might benefit by our putting ourselves and our comfort SECOND. We have been going in the direction of ME ME ME for quite a bit.

  17. Edward Baecher Said:

    Edward on Facebook: I agree with you, it’s just that today society is so conflicted, people have been assaulted for wearing the mask and also for not wearing the mask. 

  18. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Too sad. As the grandfather/great grandfather on Blue Bloods, Henry Reagan, says when the family begins to argue at the dinner table “keep it civil.” Let’s hope.

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