Yes, I am fully vaccinated. Yes, I am still wearing my mask.

In case you were living under a rock or are reading this from the past or future (I don't judge your life choices), here is what happened. The CDC updated its guidelines.

People who are fully vaccinated no longer must wear a mask all the time, and people who refuse to wear masks are losing their minds about companies ignoring CDC guidelines, still making all customers wear masks anyway.

Because if there is one thing that these people swear by, it is advice from the CDC.

I worked at the store May 23, the last day of Maine’s mask mandate.

More than half of the customers who walked in the door all asked me the same thing: “No more masks tomorrow, right?”

I replied the same way to all of them: “Yes, but only if you’re fully vaccinated.” They waved away my concerns.

This new guidance around masks is based on the honor system. Is everyone telling the truth?

I have worked one day since then, this past weekend. Customers who loudly decried the mask rule and proudly told me they were not getting their jab are now walking around the store bare-faced.

One customer tried to argue with my coworker when she insisted he put on a mask. "I don't have to wear one anymore!" He cried.

"Yes you do," she responded. "You told me you're not vaccinated."

He put it on, but the same discussion happened every time he walked in the door.

At a select board meeting this past week, I heard an unmasked resident talking about how sick he will get when he gets his next shot… in two weeks.

What does it prove to me? Some people who are unvaxxed are using this as an excuse to go without a mask.

I do applaud those who are being honest, and there are plenty of you. You give me hope.

Do I have a solution? Of course not. I am just expressing my frustration as someone who must deal with the consequences of the changed rules.

The virus deeply affected my family. Half of my family got COVID-19 and my grandmother died. She will never be at another birthday party, another celebration, anything. I have been robbed of that by this virus.

You may be pleased to see everyone's smiling face, but the potential loss of a loved one is not worth it to me. So yes, I will continue to wear my mask when I go out in public.

On another note:

In addition to reporting for the newspaper, writing for Maine Senior and Maine Women Magazines and working at the store, I am also a member of a community band: Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble.

I play percussion, which is the fancy term for drums. This means I never have to help set up or take down the chairs, because I am always still setting up or taking down my own 1,000 instruments during this time.

On Monday, the band played a Memorial Day ceremony at Chapman Park, the small park by Walgreens you never knew was a park and had a name until just now.

I have been playing with the band for more than 10 years now. That means for 10 years I spent my Memorial Day, one of the few days I actually get off, waking up, trudging out to my storage unit, dusting off my drums and lugging them to somewhere for a ceremony or a parade.

While I do this begrudgingly every year, and have been asked several times by close friends why I would possibly do something like this for free, and always think about quitting as I am loading my car with drums, in the end I always end up loving it.

I love playing music with my fellow musicians. I love when the conductor, my former band teacher from high school, thanks me after. I love being in that moment and playing a musical piece.

Most of all, for me on Memorial Day, I love to watch veterans during the ceremony I help make happen. This means more to them than anything else I could possibly do.