I don’t know about the rest of you, but the first time I wore a mask into the grocery store, I felt like a bank robber. I remember looking around and watching people do a double take when they saw me, and feeling uncomfortable. To make matters worse, Gene sat out in the getaway vehicle with the engine running just like in the movies. I remember thinking, “This could get ugly fast if someone actually tried to rob the grocery store.” Okay, let’s be real. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a grocery store robbery, and if there is, would they take the fresh produce that is at the front of the store or hit the expensive meat section at the back of the store? I’m just saying that if it did happen, how are you going to tell the good guys from the bad guys? We’re all wearing masks!
I find wearing a mask and having a conversation with someone difficult. I have had hearing loss for over 20 years (following a bad case of influenza), and I am fairly adept at reading lips when someone speaks quietly or there is background noise. I entertain Gene while watching football games by telling him what the players on the sidelines are saying. Masks not only muffle the sound but I also have no visual clues. And I swear the cashier held up my bag of avocados and asked me something like, “Do you want frosting with these?” Rather than asking them to repeat themselves, I just nod and figure that I will deal with whatever I agreed to when I get out to the car. Nodding when I don’t know what someone has said doesn’t always pay off. I have ended up ordering some bizarre things at restaurants to the amusement of my family.
I tried wearing my hearing aids with my mask, but they get tangled in the mask straps, so I gave up on them. And half the time, my glasses are fogged up so not only do I not hear well, I don’t see well either. It’s a wonder I haven’t run over someone with my grocery cart.
Meanwhile, Gene sits out in the getaway vehicle and amuses himself counting the people who are wearing their mask incorrectly. He also laughs every time I exit the grocery store because I shoot out of the door and pull my mask off like I’m being chased by a big black spider or other masked bandits. I find the combination of fogged up glasses, hearing loss and a mask claustrophobic, so when I get to open air, I can’t get the mask off fast enough. I always look forward to see Gene laughing at my great escape, and to getting his statistics on how many people are mask challenged. And he looks forward to watching me sort through the groceries to see if I can figure out what the checker asked me.
I noticed that the banks are opening up their lobbies and I’m drawing a line in the sand . . . I’m not going in wearing a mask. Just in case.