My neighbor seems to despise me

I take two hour-long walks in my South Florida development each day, at sunrise and sunset (it’s hot here) and because of the hour, particularly the early one, I’m often totally alone. At an absolute maximum, I’ll pass two or three other walkers every five minutes, but I can go a half-hour without seeing another soul. One whom I do see is a neighbor who passes me on his bike, mainly in the morning. I wave a hand to say Hi, but he gives me the most disgusted sneering look I can imagine, and shakes his head in obvious disapproval.

I’m pretty sure I know why: I walk without a mask. He usually wears one, and puts one on as he passes me and sneers at me. I’d like to ascertain that this is indeed what’s going, but to do that I would have to shout my question to him as he passes by, and that of course would confirm what I think he’s thinking, that I’m a reckless fool intent on spreading the Covid-19 virus.

I think I’m being safe, and responsible, to time my walks so that I never get within 50 feet of another person. and when I do get within 20 feet of anyone, it’s only for 1 or 2 seconds, but there are those who wear masks to walk alone outdoors with a stiff breeze blowing. Are these people acting punctiliously or is my neighbor right to convey his extreme disapproval? I thought the rule was “masks UNLESS you can socially distance yourself,” not “masks whether you can socially distance or not.”

Unless you’re coughing directly in his face, you’re good.

My wife and I make sure to wear our masks in public indoors or any situation where we cannot safely social distance, but like you when we go for a walk in the neighborhood we don’t wear masks because we are outside and we’re able to give other walkers a wide berth. We do take our masks with us and have them at the ready, like hanging on an ear, if we walk a nature trail, because it’s harder to give a lot of leeway on a trail.

I get angry seeing people in say, the grocery store who aren’t wearing masks, but I think your neighbor is being a bit overly judgmental, assuming they are sneering at you because of your lack of outdoor mask-wearing. But I’ll be interested to hear other replies.

I’d caution against too much mind reading from a sneer covered by a mask. You could try an experiment and bring a mask next walk. Put it on when you see him coming and see if that changes his expression. But for all we know, he’s sneering at your lack of pants or something.

Or just flip him off and stand there, see if he stops and ask him what his problem is.

Social distancing isn’t magic. There’s no force field at six feet that stops COVID. Social distancing plus mask wearing helps, but it’s not a guarantee. If you’re actually not within 50 feet of someone else outdoors, a mask probably isn’t going to significantly alter the risks. But if you’re passing near others, even if only for a few seconds…it won’t hurt.

I personally can’t imagine going out in public without a mask. Even if I don’t always wear it, I always have one to hand, and put it on if I get anywhere near someone else, or I go somewhere where I’m at all likely to go near someone else.

If nothing else, wearing a mask when you’re near others is common courtesy, and, yes, it’s “virtue signalling”, but that’s not actually a bad thing. It’s a simple, inexpensive, extremely low effort way to tell your neighbor that you care about their health, and that you realize that we’re all in this together.

We walk in the woods around our home, where we never run into anyone, so we leave our masks at home. If I were walking in a neighborhood or town where I would be anywhere near others, of course I’d wear a mask, and I’d likely sneer at the OP.

I always wear a mask when out running. On occasions where no one is anywhere near me I drop it down so it’s not covering my nose, but otherwise it’s always on. When out walking/running you do pass less than 6 feet from people, or spend time in their slip stream, or come across people unexpectedly. It’s not hard to have a mask handy, or at minimum step off the path/turn away when encountering someone else.

It’s not clear if it’s needed, but it’s a good show of neighborly empathy if it’s clear that they appreciate it.

It’s like the old joke. Everyone who drives slower than me is a moron, everyone who drives faster is a maniac. People like sneering at their moral inferiors.

When he sees you without a mask, he doesn’t automatically know whether you’re an anti-masker or if you are taking appropriate precautions to be without a mask in public. All he knows is that you are walking around without a mask on. I would recommend to wear some kind of face covering when passing people because it avoids a lot of these concerns and gives those around you a sense of security. It may be totally unnecessary, but lots of things we do in society are just to conform with norms rather than because it’s absolutely necessary. And there’s huge problem with just getting mask compliance in the first place. If more people wear masks all the time, then the maskless people stand out more and they’ll feel more pressure to wear a mask.

You could just sneer back. Maybe that’s a customary form of greeting wherever it is he comes from.

We don’t wear masks when out for a walk, given that passersby are few and far between and it’s easy to give them a wide berth.

Yes. I think the amount of judginess that this virus has brought out is quite amazing. And discouraging.

I’ve said all along, that this situation poses the challenge of each person deciding what they consider to be appropriate/responsible for themselves, as well as being tolerant of other people deciding differently for themselves (within reason.)

I’ve seen NOTHING to suggest there is any realistic risk of passing someone outside from 6’ away. But some people feel otherwise - and wish to express their disagreement with others. So good for you, Telemark - for choosing to run with a mask on. But I choose to bike and walk my dog maskless. Perhaps when biking I might momentarily pass w/in 6’ of someone. Sorry if that causes someone discomfort, but I consider their fear unreasonable.

So I’d wager the neighbor is just a judgmental asshole. Of course, there is the possibility that he might still be holding a grudge about the time you took a dump on his front lawn…

Yeah, I walk a lot during the pandemic as medication. We have a lot of paved bike trails and I do see a few other regulars - some masked and some not and we have room to give each other a wide berth (masked or not). I do not wear one while walking but I do bring one with me in case I run into someone I know and we stop to chat. There are a few people who give-off “stink-eye”, but people mostly step off the trail while passing others.

While I am a bit more relaxed while outside (I do not mask while bicycling), I never go anywhere indoors without being masked (except at home).

Agree. While it’s possible, it’s not at all certain that (1) he’s sneering at you, and (2) it’s because of your masklessness. And even if it is, IMHO you’re not obligated to care.

I never wear a mask when I’m walking in my neighborhood. Most of the time, I don’t come within fifty feet of anyone, and I can always cross the street if someone is walking towards me. Even if I was shedding coronavirus like a motherfuck, someone on the opposite side of a two-lane road wouldn’t be in any danger of picking it up from me. I don’t even bother bringing along a mask in my pocket: if someone engages me in conversation, we can just stand ten or twelve feet apart while we talk.

OTOH, there’s a nature preserve in my county that has designated trails through it. I don’t wear my mask there for the most part, but I have it in my pocket in case I pass someone on the trail: once off the trail, there’s undergrowth, deadfall and the like, so when you see someone coming, you put on your mask, and one of you gets as far off the trail as can be easily managed while the other one passes.

And on yet another hand, a nearby town has a boardwalk-type area where people go walking. It’s pretty uncrowded by Before Times standards, but if you go walking there, you’ll intermittently be within eight or ten feet of other walkers. I wear my mask there: there really isn’t much risk involved if none of us did, but there’s enough relatively close contact by current standards that it’s an appropriate courtesy, if nothing else.

How wide are these pathways?

Where I live sidewalks aren’t very wide (enough for two people to walk beside or past each other) and you need to approach within 5 feet. You can’t always walk off the sidewalk either, and I don’t want to do that in winter (too many people don’t pick up after their dogs, and the snow covers what the dogs left behind).

When I go outside I always wear my mask. It does not cause breathing problems, and I use some with those metal strips on the nose to keep my glasses from fogging up (in other words, they’re actually containing stuff). Wearing my mask is not a sacrifice or a political statement. It’s not even an expense: I can get them free from the hospital or grocery store just by showing up without one (I bought my own masks, but I could have gotten them for free).

The OP’s neighbor is probably not a public health official and probably doesn’t realize that a few seconds of exposure aren’t enough to get or transmit the virus. Of course the OP has no way of knowing if the neighbor keeps running into people who aren’t wearing masks and it does not sound as if either ever had a discussion about that. If the mask is really causing the OP a problem, they can wear one under the chin, then lift it when a neighbor goes by, but the OP should just wear a mask when outside their household.

The ultimate manifestation of this is the aisle arrows in supermarkets, which everybody ignores. But, of course, the 50% of the time when I happen to be going in the right direction I can feel smug and superior…

I think people can get too single-minded about masks, and forget that separation is at least as high a priority. And that the risk is much greater indoors than outdoors. All the science I’ve seen says you should be far more concerned at someone with a mask passing unncessarily 5 feet from me indoors, than someone without a mask passing >15 feet away outdoors.

If I’m walking or running outdoors in areas where there are few people, I don’t wear a mask, but I just have one loose around my neck in case I have to pass <15 feet from someone.

I’ll change this if someone can show me some evidence that this is inappropriate, but not because some random person sneers at me.

I wear a mask even when walking outside alone (mainly city sidewalks), mainly because it’s just easier than having to quickly put one on if I come near anybody.