Free-standing temporary sign on a sidewalk corner proclaiming WEARING IS CARING and showing two cartoon people, one with short hair and the other with long hair, wearing face masks covering their mouths and nose.

Every city around here has its own publicity and enforcement schemes for Covid-19 safety, though the criteria and general requirements are mostly decided at the county or state level. I haven’t gotten out to El Segundo much since the pandemic hit, so I hadn’t seen their “Wearing is Caring” slogan until this weekend.

I wore a mask to the bank today.

Nobody batted an eye.

They probably would have been more concerned if I hadn’t worn a mask, since they’re now required for anyone working at or visiting an “essential” business that’s still open to the public.

A month ago, when I first went outside after recovering from the flu, only a handful of people were wearing masks. It’s still not everyone, but a lot more people are masking up these days.

Bandanas mostly, and pleated cloth masks. At the grocery store I saw a few people, mostly older, with more serious filters.

Maybe half the people I see walking around residential areas. It’s not required in this area, at least not yet, if you’re going for a solo walk, just if you’re going to be interacting with people. And if you’re out with someone from your own household, it’s not like you’re endangering each other. And yeah, I get it: it’s a pain to grab a mask just to walk around the block.

More people along bigger streets, where they might be on their way to or from a store or restaurant that’s still open, or a bus.

Everyone doing construction or landscaping or gardening.

Someone standing on a street corner selling masks for a few dollars apiece. A sign on a telephone pole advertising hand-made masks by someone in the neighborhood. Parked cars with cloth masks hanging from the rear-view mirrors.

And scattered around, the occasional discarded masks. I don’t understand: They’re not easy enough to find that you can just toss one and replace it on a whim. What’s the story? Did someone rip another person’s mask off and throw it in the dirt as a form of bullying? Throw their own mask away in frustration?

A discarded face mask in the dirt.

Update 4/25: Found another one that I thought made for an interesting image, though the previous one’s still better. I don’t think the plants need the mask.

Weeds by the edge of the sidewalk and a discarded face mask.