Sometimes I look like a masked bandit

In an effort to not repeat last summer, I’ve been really trying to up my game this year and be more proactive.  A couple months ago I was looking into face masks and was told they’re kind of pointless because they don’t seal to your face.  My concern at the time was a plane ride for work.  If the air quality, allergens, irritants or somebody reeking of smoke doesn’t bother me, the cabin not pressurized properly will.  Now that allergy seasons are in full swing, I need a little help some days when the pollen counts are approaching 12 out of 12.

For $14 I picked up one of these on Amazon.  They’re reusable, washable, not too hot, adjustable, and easy to store in a pocket.

Yeah, so the picture makes it look like a bean bag chair or maybe a guinea pig hiding under a piece of material.  It actually covers my face quite nicely and my beard does a good job filling in the gaps where it doesn’t “seal” to my face.  There’s a bendable, metal piece you can shape to your nose.  It doesn’t do a great job by itself, but the mask in conjunction with my sunglasses works great.  Oh, and my glasses don’t fog up from my breathing.

Some people ignore it and many look like idiots staring at me.  One day I was driving and put it on at a stoplight.  Some guy in a car next to me became quite concerned.  I think he’s seen too many mob movies where hits are made at stoplights.  Some student at work the other day was staring at me with his mouth hanging open and open walked into a pole.  I eyeballed him for 5 seconds and then loudly declared, “HEY YOUR MOUTH IS HANGING OPEN.”  One positive is I can yell at drivers with it on and no one sees my mouth moving.

The good news is for $14 I notice a distinct difference on high pollen days, and that can be all it takes for me to feel miserable or feel not so bad.  Last year there were some issues at work with construction dust and this would probably make a big difference if I needed to wear it inside.  I’m not sure how often you should wash it or how long until it needs to be replaced, but for now I’m pretty pleased with it after three or four weeks of use.