Blog / 2020 / The Thoughtful Rule-follower in Me Acknowledges the Thoughtful Rule-follower in You

August 4, 2020

I am a rule-follower. I may not look the part with my hand-dyed clothes, no makeup, and choice to be childfree, but I am all about following laws, contracts, and even basic politeness etiquette. Obviously I’m not the kind of rule-follower who automatically acquiesces to authority figures who are high on their own product, but I wholeheartedly believe that many of our rules help society to function.

My thoughtful rule-following is usually part of what allows me and my art to thrive even in light of all the social norms I eschew. My delight in structure is actually something I like about myself, but right now it is turning me inside out.

Every time I leave my house, I see fifty unmasked faces for every one that’s properly covered. Sure, people at the Jersey shore mask up to go in stores, but not when walking around outside and especially if they’re biking or jogging. Apparently, the capes of COVID-19 droplets that they drag behind them when cycling or running are something I’m supposed to accept.

The lack of face coverings infuriates me. It’s turned me into that intense kind of rule-follower—the one who sticks with the letter of the law, context be damned. The other day at the post office, I brought shame upon the House of Gwenn when an elderly person cut in front of me while carefully avoiding eye contact and I didn’t go the graceful route by letting them get away with it. Instead, I chose to inform them that there was, in fact, a line. (As if they weren’t already 100% aware of it.)

I’m tired of being ignored.

Because that’s what it feels like when you follow the rules, while everyone around you seems to be breaking them and getting away with it. I don’t actually want to stop obeying laws, but part of me wonders if I should give it a try. I wouldn’t stop wearing a mask, because the harm of not following that rule is just too 157000-dead-and-counting for me to disregard it, but I can’t help but consider what other rules I might stop following just because.

And the fact that I am actually asking myself this should make your blood run cold. It’s the very definition of what’s so dangerous about this moment. It’s why I will never forgive 45. Of all his crimes, this is the one that sends him directly to the heart of hell without passing “go” and without collecting 200 gajillion dollars.

Trump has completely torpedoed our innate sense that everything good in this world comes from working together, and his crime is written all over every unmasked face.

Gwenn Seemel wearing a monsterific face-covering
monsterific face-covering available in kid sizes and adult sizes

In the immortal words of Katie Anthony:

Have I killed someone? Will I? These are the questions that I always answer by putting on a fucking mask, y’all. Because maybe I have or will, but it won’t be because I couldn’t be bothered to accessorize properly.”

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