The air has been at "unhealthy" levels for a couple of days now, but I've seen only a few people wearing protective masks. Instead I've seen people working outside, jogging, the elderly and young children (who are especially vulnerable), and others going around outside as if nothing is wrong and we are not surrounded by a miasma which has real and serious health impacts. I've been wearing one of the N95 masks I bought last year during the smoke, and have resolutely pushed down my feelings of embarrassment for being the only person walking around in one.
Wolfling, who has asthma, posted a photo of herself in a mask before heading out for school (she's finally started community college -- an important catch-up post in its own right) and in the comments someone posted links to smog masks being worn in fashion shows in China and a more general article about fashionable smog masks.
The fact that such masks may become standard wear, even if only a few times a year, here in my beautiful region breaks my heart, frightens, and infuriates me.