As a follow-up to one of my evergreen posts (according to my visitor stats), I ought to write about this Zeiss anti-fog spray and cloth.
I wanted to try this back when I tried the others, but it wasn’t in stock, and then I forgot about it etc. Well, now we’re back wearing masks a lot of the time (I never stopped wearing them in shops), anti-fog technologies are back on the agenda.
This, my friends, is really good and very effective. Make sure your glasses are clean, then spray each lens on both sides and dry off with the cloth.
Unlike the standalone cloths, which require frequent reapplication, this Zeiss kit works for days on end. You only need to reapply when your glasses are filthy and you have to clean them again.
Like, I’m sure, many spectacle wearers, I’ve tried a number of different anti-fog wipes. They’re all pretty useless, and none of them are capable of doing what their packaging claims, although some are better than others.
What do we want? Well, if you’re me, you need up to 20-25 fog-free minutes for various work purposes, sometimes several times a day. And for the weekly supermarket trip, you need up to an hour of fog-free performance. I’m sure these are standard use cases for most people.
The first ones I tried are the best I’ve tried. Life Art Dry Anti-Fog Cloth.
You might not think these would be any good, and they do not perform as the packaging claims, but they do work quite well for short periods of time. Let’s consider the packaging. Underneath the Life Art branding is the slogan, Care Eyes, Care Life. I’m sure we can all agree that these are words to live by. And then at the bottom, it says, in all caps, give you clear view. And front and centre, in big lettering, is the claim Reusable 700 times/PC. I don’t know what PC stands for. Per cloth?
Anyway, they stop working effectively after about 20 uses, so the 700 times is a bit of a stretch. Also, they claim to be effective for up to 48 hours, and I’m here to tell you that after 20 minutes, you may not be fogged up, but the inside surface of your glasses will be wet, and the condensation will start to run like raindrops on a windowpane. In the marketing materials, we’re informed that Suede anti fog nano molecules Let the fog trouble away from your life.
All in all, what this means is, they will work, but you’ll have to re-use the cloth every 10-15 minutes. But having been slightly dissatisfied with these, I ordered an alternative.
So No Fog High Performance Lens Cleaning Wipes
I’m used to carrying something like this about my person all the time, because I obsessively clean my expensive glasses with VU Wipes, and make sure never to use potentially scratchy materials.
These are also disappointing. Most of the time, they don’t seem to work at all, and they especially don’t work if you, say, wipe your glasses first thing in the morning and then hope that the anti fog will still be effective, say, three hours later. Up to 24 hour performance is offered on the packaging, as well as (helpfully) not for use on contact lenses. Anyway, these are a mixed bag. If you clean your glasses with one of these and then immediately put on the mask and go shopping, it’ll work. But if you then put on the mask again an hour or so later, you’ll fog up immediately.
I’ve tried combining the wet wipe and the dry cloth, and this seems to work a bit better. Finally, a halfway house:
Old Schoolmate Frame Glasses and Antifogging, to give them their full title.
These are halfway, because you get a suede-like cloth, but it is damp to the touch like a wet wipe. Please wash your hands after use on the front of the packaging is a bit worrying. Also keep away from children.
I’m sure this is fine. Anyway, you’d think this combo option would work better. It says it works for “about” 24 hours, but as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, it doesn’t work at all. I could literally clean my lenses and then put on my mask for a 2-minute walk to the work toilet, and I’ll be fogged up before I get there.
I’d probably buy the Life Art again. It works reliably enough that you can get used to its foibles. The wet wipes are second best, but sometimes don’t seem to be effective, plus you have to dispose of them much quicker. And the Old Schoolmate ones are a dud.
Look out for more cutting edge consumer reviews coming your way soon.
Kid B is off to university soon, and we had a few bits to pick up in Milton Keynes. For example, no way I was letting her go off without a very sharp kitchen knife, so a visit to T K Maxx was in order. (The best place to get your kitchen equipment, stuffed full of bargains.) Was slightly dreading the trip because MK is an indoor shopping centre, which means wearing a mask for the entirety of the visit. I think it’s the first time we’ve been since February.
There’s a one-way system in the shopping centre. Down one side of the aisle, and up the other. Further complicated by the larger stores having an entrance on one side of the shopping centre and an exit on the other. A certain lack of coordination here, so that many of them had these entrances/exits on the same side, and you’d have to loop around… ugh. It’s exhausting just writing it down.
There are things about this pandemic that have pushed us into doing what we ought to have been doing all along. Shopping less. Flying less. Washing our hands more. Giving each other space. We’re currently in the unpleasant phase of realising that, for example, an outing to the shopping centre for its own sake, with no need or purpose behind it, is not something you’ll be doing any more. Window shopping, in other words, is a thing of the past. Because going somewhere you don’t need to go in order to wear a mask, dodge sociopaths, and meekly follow a one-way system is not a pleasure.
So. Masks. One way system. Lots of opportunities for toxic personalities not to comply. You’ve got your toxic masculinity; your toxic seniority (pensioners); your toxic Karenility. Of course, some people might have some kind of ‘medical’ excuse (I’m very sceptical of all of these I’m afraid); and people eating or drinking get a bit of a pass. But: along with window shopping, eating and drinking as you walk about? Also a thing of the past. It’s neither necessary nor couth. Anyway, it all adds up to non-compliance.
There are four levels.
Not following the one-way system but wearing a mask.
As above, but wearing a mask only over your mouth, not your nose.
As above, but wearing a mask as a chin strap.
Not following the one way system and not wearing a mask.
(Which could be a lot more levels, if you consider following the one-way system vs. not. But I am going to stipulate that someone not wearing a mask and yet following the one-way system is only doing so by chance.)
The category 4 people really seemed to be the most sullen and resentful type, shuffling along radiating hatred for everyone around them. It’s really hard to stop yourself pointing fingers and denouncing them.
I said it at the beginning of all this, and I still believe it now. The pandemic has revealed the sociopaths among us like never before. It’s like something out of The Scarlet Letter. People are displaying their pathology and might as well be painted Day-Glo orange or indeed wearing a giant red S for sociopath on their foreheads.
I’m not suggesting we round them all up and execute them in football stadia, but we might consider not kissing or hooking up with them. What a time to be alive!
My OH has received mask advice from her school’s head teacher. Wear or don’t wear, is the advice. Up to you. “Whatever makes you feel safe.”
Well. There’s your trouble. Right there, in a nutshell, the muddled thinking that persists about masks, well into (check notes) the 18th year of the pandemic.
The displays of toxic individualism you see (where people who have no medical reason not to wear masks flat refuse to put them on) are driven by a perception that wearing a mask makes them look weak and vulnerable. Because, in their muddled minds, wearing a mask is the equivalent of clutching at pearls, or putting on a long-sleeved shirt in November, or wearing ear protectors when you’re using a pneumatic drill.
Supply your own analogy. The point is that too many people still conceptualise mask-wearing as a self-protective measure. Which it only is if you consider society as a whole and the idea that stopping the spread is good for everyone, including the mask wearer.
I have every sympathy with head teachers, who have been dealing with ever-changing guidance and advice from the government since March, and are having to adjust their policies almost daily, even as the start of term lumbers towards us over the bank holiday weekend. Every head teacher will also have a coterie of staff who don’t read emails, skip meetings, or don’t stop talking long enough to listen to anybody else*, so every evolution in policy stores up confusion for when the real work begins.
But for a Head to use that phrase, whatever makes you feel safe is so unhelpful, it gives me the rage. So: imagine it makes me feel safe to wear a mask, and I step into the staff room wearing mine, but nobody else is wearing one. Do I feel safe now?
Personally, I don’t feel the need to wear a mask to feel safe, but then I understand that that’s not why I’m being asked to wear one.
I do miss those 70s Public Information Films. Don’t Dazzle, Dip: remember that one? Clunk Click, Every Trip. Always Use the Green Cross Code. Careless Talk Costs Lives. Dig For Victory. Don’t Read the Comments. Wear a Fucking Mask Because It’s Not About You.
I was in B&Q a few weeks ago, in Milton Keynes, and I think it was the first time I consciously wore a mask face covering to a shop. In my case, it was one of those Buff tubular bandanas. Mine’s made of recycled plastic bottles. In Covid-time, a few weeks ago feels like another lifetime, but I noted then that it seemed that fewer than half of the customers were wearing a mask. Welp, they’ve been compulsory in France since Monday, and, lagging behind as usual, in the UK from today, Friday.
Like literally everyone else who has to wear one, I hate it. Still, I don’t wear it for my benefit but for that one shop assistant who feels vulnerable and would rather I wore one. I’m finding that here in France, a warmer climate, my glasses aren’t steaming up quite so much as they did that day in B&Q, though I’m also carrying some surgical tape in case I have to take steps. There’s a supermarket we sometimes go to called Grand Frais, and the whole shop really is very frais indeed. I imagine that the lenses would fog quite quickly in there. Wearing a face covering starts to feel hot and claustrophobic after about half an hour, so you can’t wander the aisles quite as aimlessly as you once might have done.
I was in Cora today, one of the bigger hypermarkets, and I had to skip through a bit, not least because (as I have frequently observed) wearing a mask means that people do not respect physical distancing at all, which gives me the fucking rage, quite honestly. It’s both/and, not either/or, you dolts. Wear a mask and keep the fuck away from me. But you can’t get into rows with these people.
They were selling various kinds of face mask and hand sanitiser near the entrance. I picked up a couple so as to have extras, just in case. The disposable masks are eye-wateringly expensive, which is a good thing, I think. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, people are just throwing them on the floor. Polluter pays is a good principle. The reusable masks were €2 each, and every single one was protected with an anti-theft security tag. Which makes you wonder how much it costs to affix the tags. The checkout operator could not remove them, and had to explain to me that I had to go to the customer service desk on the way out of the shop. There, I was challenged by the security guard to show my receipt. Such a faff, made doubly hard by my inability to understand what anyone was saying. Not just because I’m shit at French, but because I’m shit at hearing when I can’t see the speaker’s lips. Ho hum.
Thence to Leroy Merlin, which because it is laid out almost identically to B&Q, gave me a flash back to that occasion a few weeks ago. I think you have to stop yourself occasionally and wonder how we got here. Most people were wearing masks, not risking the €135 fine. There was one old boy, wearing his round his neck while he talked to a couple of assistants. Possibly he too had hearing problems and is confused about which of his organs does the actual hearing. But if you had to guess: an older white guy, right? But it brought me up short, to think of how much has changed, and how much we seem to be living on a knife edge.
Anyway, shopping is no longer fun. You’re not going to want to try on clothes, or flick through the sale racks for bargains, or, I dunno, hang out in Fnac looking at the Moleskines.
Everything is confusing and the messaging from politicians has been unclear. For the ideologues in charge of the UK’s response, the confused messaging is deliberate, I think. Like their counterpart across the Atlantic, I think they want to promote chaos and sew division because it works to their advantage. There’s also been a sense throughout, I reckon, that they’re trying to communicate to one set of people through coded dog whistles. The use of phrases like “common sense” is always a clue to this.
Just as nobody was really policing the lockdown (unless you were the wrong class or colour), I don’t think anybody is really policing the masks. It definitely shouldn’t be up to shop assistants on minimum wage to confront angry white men and sharp-elbowed Karens.
Apart from the claustrophobia caused by my own hot breath, and the hearing difficulties, it just feels really lonely out there, I think. I noticed that I was holding my mouth differently: my lips felt more tightly pressed together, my smile muscles unused. It reminds me of a line in Terry Bisson’s classic short story “Bears Discover Fire”:
Though they were gathered together, their spirits still seemed solitary, as if each bear was sitting alone in front of its own fire.
“Bears Discover Fire” Terry Bisson, 1990
And that seems to be us at the moment. We gather together, but each one of us is solitary behind the mask, alone with our own thoughts.