(Image: AAP/James Ross)

Right now, anyone writing from Melbourne has to repeatedly remind themselves that not everyone is living like this.

The winter skies are grey and low, a chill is in the air, the cafes on the streets remain takeaway depots and the mask has become utterly normal. It's weird.

You could say that you don't see it, but it's more that you don't see the absence of face. The mask has become what psychoanalysts call a transitional object; there-not-there at the same time, like a toddler's security blanket, which is both the mother and not-the-mother all at once.