It is always tempting not to wear a safety mask:
Wearing a safety mask will guarantee a bad hair day so bad that one’s hair is probably reprogrammed at a molecular level to asymmetrically kink long after the current crop of hair has all been cut off.
Wearing a safety mask while opening the door will only confirm what the neighbours have been too polite to even think.
Wearing a safety mask might leave your face swollen and red in a sort of post apocalyptic fashion statement if you make the mistake that I did.
Let me take this opportunity to say that it is very important to wear a safety mask.
A serious craftsperson should have one for chemical vapours, and one for airborne particles. These masks should be stored properly, kept clean, and have their filters changed regularly. They should fit your face properly, not allowing any leaks.
A proper mask will care of your lungs, and oxygen is one of the few natural non-fattening pleasures that we have left in this information rich world.
But don’t do what I did with my mask.
I had the proper mask, with a proper fit, and I was using it in an area with good ventilation (the outdoors). When all the Toxic Fun was done, I waited a reasonable amount of time for the fumes to subside, then took the mask off and laid it on a nearby rock while I prepared for the next round of Toxic Fun.
Once preparations were complete, but before the fumes began, I carefully put on my mask, and adjusted the three straps so it would fit tightly against my face, and began playing with my Toxic Toys.
Soon I knew that something was very wrong, but I managed to turn off the torch and set it down in a non-life-threatening position before beginning to fumble with the three straps that remove the mask. My face felt like it was burning, which distracted me somewhat from removing the mask in an efficient and elegant manner. The howling, and improper language was probably not a surprise to the neighbours.
Once I had the mask removed, I realized that my face was red, and swollen and painful.
Looking inside the mask, I discovered the obvious reason why. The mask, in the time it had waited patiently in the sun on the rock, had been colonized by ants. The ants, industrious creatures that they are, were busy starting tunnels and securing emergency exits around the edge of the tight fitting mask. Luckily for me they were ants, and not large snakes. My allergic reaction to the ant bites soon subsided, and I was able to continue with my Toxic Fun.
So now I watch where I put my mask down, and check it before I put it on my face. A well designed and fitted mask will only protect you from things outside the mask.
Learn from my mistakes – I’ve got plenty of them…