So I went to the doctor the other day to get some lab work done, and I asked the woman at the counter if it mattered that I had a little bit of a chest cold. She assured me that it would not affect the test in any way, so don't worry about it. Another woman at the counter overheard the conversation, and told me that 'just to be safe' I should grab one of the surgical masks from the box that was conspicuously hanging from the wall. I was somewhat taken aback at this; first of all because I had never been requested to do so before, and the prospect of sitting there in the waiting room looking like a crazy SARS-feared Chinese woman made me a little uneasy, but also because there was only one other person in the waiting room, and since we're in the doctor's office I guess I just typically assume that everyone there is sick anyway.
However, after my initial shock from the request wore off, I started thinking about how much sense this makes, and how I couldn't believe that I'd never seen people wearing masks in the waiting room before. The doctors and nurses wear masks, and they certainly don't do it for my sake, but instead for their own. So of course if there are people hanging out in the waiting room of a clinic, there are germs flying everywhere, and it only makes sense that everyone should keep their germs to themselves.
I guess my point is that I am baffled that the people behind the counter don't make everyone put on masks, regardless of whether they're sick or not, because it protects all in the waiting room from either giving or receiving the awful germs that are sure to be circulating in a room full of people waiting to see a doctor. I'm not saying I'm going to start wearing a surgical mask on the street - although it probably isn't a bad idea, but there's a point where we have to decided whether we want to be perceived as crazy, or be healthy, and I think that crosses into the "look at that crazy person" realm - but I certainly will think more about putting a mask on any and every time I find myself in a hospital or doctor's office waiting room.