Half-blind, near-deaf & masked; A setup for bumbling humour

Anyone who knows me well, especially my family and Facebook friends, knows that I enjoy humour. That’s especially true in relation to things that I have no power to change, must somehow accept, and don’t particularly like. Masks have been the object of my humour for quite some time. Sometimes that humour spills over into day to day living… 

Ok. So I’m not blind or deaf, but being near-sighted, I can’t see faces and expressions clearly at 6 plus feet away. (I’ll get to the ‘deafness’ later). Even less so when the other person is wearing a mask. With the new mandatory mask requirements in some places, this makes life especially interesting….

So, there I was, yesterday, having to wear a mask to the viewing of my sister-in-law’s father. Masks are required at funeral visitations. I respect that. The regulations are letting more people through than I would have expected by this time, due to COVID-19, so a mask is small price to pay to be able to have a visitation. I wish on no one what we went through as a family, being forced to bury a loved one without proper mourning rituals. So, gladly, I wore a mask.

Once inside, I placed the blue surgical mask on my face, and put on my glasses. They steamed up. I took them off again. I tried to get the mask to fit in such a way that my glasses didn’t steam, but eventually I resigned myself to wandering through the line with the mask and no glasses.

Up first was a tall handsome chap. Not trusting my vision, while still a short distance away, I asked Tim to make sure it was our nephew Reg, whose grandfather passed away. Tim confirmed it.

We stood and chatted a while with him and another grandson and his fiancee, waiting for the line to move. The other gentleman introduced his fiancee, and we talked about wedding with COVID, and how it has disrupted things. I commented about our son Toddrick and his fiancee Emily who have postponed their wedding until next year. Our nephew looked bewildered. I was surprised he didn’t seem to know anything about the wedding, and said “You were invited”, and laughed. Simultaneously, Tim touched my elbow and said, “This isn’t Reg”, as the gentleman chuckled and said, “I’m Landon.”

It turned out I was chatting with Reg’s cousin, who is about his height and build, and the poor fella was too polite to clue me in that I’m a total stranger, chattering on about my kids he has never met. 🤣 I had noticed his hair was a bit different, and at one point when he spoke, something wasn’t quite Reg. Little clues, but not wanting to squint, and certainly not wanting to close that 6-foot gap, it was all just peripheral.

After a good laugh, and feeling slightly embarrassed, we meandered on, offering our condolences, and keeping a good 6+ feet away, as required. People said things. They smiled and I smiled too. Half the time I could not hear what is said. I am just hearing impaired enough to make conversation difficult in  any environment, and I rely quite strongly on lipreading. This is true even in our own home, when Tim and I are a few feet apart. It is common for me to say to Tim, “Please turn and look at me”, when he speaks. I have low pitch hearing loss, and struggle with hearing hard consonant. This makes hearing men or women with lower tones very challenging for me. So today I learned how distressing, and at moments hilarious, it is to live in a masked world.

That stress behind us, we got in our car. We sat there for a moment talking about what happened. I felt two things simultaneously. I laughed at what had happened, while fighting tears at the frustration of not being able to see or hear what is happening. Frustrated at what all this whole COVID fiasco has taken from us. But, no time to stay there… 

We’re not the kind to spontaneously go out for dinner. In our 26 years of marriage, no doubt we have done it, but not often. Nonetheless, I made the suggestion. Seeing as we were all dressed up and ready to go — a detail I pitched to hubby during my request — it made perfect sense to take advantage of the moment. 

We decided we would start with one restaurant to see if they had room on the patio, and, if not, we would weave our way through Kitchener until we found a spot with a patio and room.

Tim, role playing ordering at the restaurant, and indulging my love of poking fun at masks, said, “I think I’ll just have the soup, thank you. That’s all that will fit through my mask.”

At East Side Mario’s we had a charming server, with a delightful sense of humour. We sat and enjoyed our impromptu date, sans masks, eating more than soup broth, and enjoying each other’s company.

It’s wonderful to be married to your best friend, who can laugh with you, as we laugh at ourselves.

It was a good day.

*****

For those interested, there is a solution to the problem of masks hiding smiles, and preventing lip-reading. Click the photo to go to the website and order a windowed mask. It will probably steam up too, but maybe it’s better than nothing.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2020

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