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What’s on my Bedside Table

In 2019, I bought a bowl at the annual Idaho Foodbank Empty Bowls fundraiser, and since then, it has been on my bedside table—a vessel for a handful of things I don’t leave the house without, like my watch, cell phone, keys and a pen. Add to that list a new item: my face mask.

Since the start of the pandemic, the mask has been a nearly constant companion, and more than once I’ve raced back to my house during the lunch hour because I forgot it. Some people say the masks protect them from breathing in disease, but according to public health experts, masks in fact protect other people from the wearer. If I came down with a case of COVID-19, it could be days or weeks before I felt ill myself, and in that time, I could conceivably infect other people.

There’s another reason to wear them: common courtesy. Under ordinary circumstances, being thoughtful about my surroundings was expected of me, whether I was in a car, at the store or even in my own home. Putting something over my face while I’m in crowded or indoor spaces shows I take the present situation and the safety of other people seriously, just like giving people a wide berth in public or sneezing into my elbow.

Another item I keep on my bedside table are my glasses. For a lot of people, eyewear is a necessary but onerous expense, and a pair of specs, complete with lenses, can sometimes cost upwards of $1,000 for a designer pair; but in the last few years, outfits like Warby Parker and others have stepped into the market to offer comparable fashion at a steeply discounted price. On page 4, I recommend Tracy Bringhurst’s story about a local outfit that is doing something similar—and not just with the glasses, but for eye exams, too.

Then, on page 5, I reintroduce readers to John Reusser, now the outgoing director of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline; and his successor there, Lee Flinn, who will take over the reins on Friday, May 15. Tracy returns on page 6 to talk about a months-long project on the part of one local tattoo artist to catalogue her work, and I return on page 10 to talk about my adventure with Han’s Chimaek, Boise’s newest Korean fried chicken spot.

—Harrison Berry

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