I’m great at throwing sarcastic judgment around. Sometimes I’m so full of myself that I get on a roll, hurling insults like a monkey throwing poop. It’s a rude mess, and then those three terrible words bounce out of my mouth before I shut myself up.

“I would never…”

My adventure in Taiwan started roughly seven months ago. When I first arrived, I balked at all the idiots scooting around or, worse, walking around with medical masks on. It’s the du jour fashion accessory; you can either sport the boring, medical-blue, thin cotton ones, or you can upgrade.

Oh, can you upgrade. Pimp My Mask. Replaceable carbon filter masks. Adjustable masks. Colored masks. Masks with cartoons or words or nonsensical English on them. Hot pink masks. Glittery masks. What kind of gaudy, Liberace fashion failure wears glittered accessories?

I could've sworn that mask on the far right was yellow. I even bought it for my mom, whose favorite color is yellow.

I believe I descended so far into my tirade against these masks that I told Gretchen, “If I ever wear one of those, I want you to” do some ridiculous thing to mock and humiliate me until I regain my senses. Y’know, just to drive the point home.

So many options. This is a quarter of a rack at one store alone.

I’m a punk. Because right now, over there, in my purse, in the zippered pocket facing me, is a silver, cotton, adjustable medical face mask. I bought it this weekend, and I’ve worn it every single time I’ve scooted. I’ve even worn it indoors when I was running a quick errand and would be back on the scooter in a matter of minutes.

The benefits of my Silver Savior, as I’ve found, are twofold. One is an obvious reason. The other is one that will get me smacked by my mother.

First, my health has already improved. My nose isn’t a giant schnoz of suffering anymore. When the bus in front of me, its exhaust pipe aimed directly at my face, belches out a thick cloud of death, I don’t gag as much. I’m sold. Next payday I’m buying masks for my entire family. Friends, too. If Taiwan cared enough about animals to make animal masks, I’d buy ones for all the pets I know.

Also, in those rare (lie) moments when I’m scooting and the one (lie) bad driver/scooter in Taiwan finds me and nearly kills me, I can politely (…) let them know what I think. The mask muffles everything I say. So the other day, when a pedestrian nearly caused me to lay down my scooter, all he heard were my garbled shouts.

I love my silver mask, though it wasn’t my first choice; in the same style, I found a gorgeous red mask. It would clash with my helmet, though.