Another drawback the virus created which I haven’t found much discussed are the issues with the face mask. Specifically, three things.
One, I’ve always been a bit claustrophobic. The mask makes me a tiny bit crazy. Borderline panic. Two, I often wear glasses and when I have the mask in place, it fogs them up when I exhale. So now I can’t see or breathe and the crazy picks up momentum. George tells me I’m breathing wrong. I’ll leave my comments on that for another blog. Moving on to item three… when my face is covered, people don’t know when I’m smiling.
I have a very dry, deadpan, sarcastic, some would even say harsh, sense of humor. Without the smile, people might think I’m just plain mean. And while there may be opportunities for debate on that issue, I’ll take umbrage and blame the mask. On more than one occasion, however, I’ve had to tell people with narrowed eyes above their own mask that I’m smiling. It usually settles them down, but a wee bit of lingering doubt stays in the air between us.
Damn you, Covid! I don’t want to act chipper. I don’t want to use jazz hands and bob my head around while asking why my local bank branch is now closing at 4pm. They said because of Covid.
Cue smile on my face which teller can no longer see.
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand. How is that logical?” I ask.
A few customer heads turn my way. Trouble?
Banker shrugs. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” I smile and press.
Pointed stares from others; Banker squinting. “Yeah, ah, maybe it’s the riots.”
“Now that would make sense,” I point at him, turning to nod at others watching. No one sees me smiling, and I plow on like we live in normal times. “But closing early for covid? I still don’t understand.”
Banker gives me my receipt. “I don’t have an answer.”
Let it go, Annabelle. “Really? No emails on the situation? Are there staffing issues? Is there a wave of covid going through the ranks of your bank? A rash of folks not wanting to work? Because I’m still in business. Regardless of the virus, people still require the same amount of banking. In fact, hasn’t the need for money management and financial help increased? So much of what you do can be done either remotely or behind your plexiglass there, so I’m not sure why there’s a decrease in man hours to accommodate us.”
And there it is. I can feel the hostility, but I’m having trouble actually seeing it through my periodically fogged-up lenses. I’m smiling though! And I truly, sincerely, love explanations which make me feel like the world hasn’t gone completely mental.
Dead air greets me. I point to the mask. “I’m smiling beneath this, you know.”
Banker looks over my head at the next person in line. My cue to stumble through the fog and slink away.
Okay, banker, I’ll retreat, but you can count on me asking the same question again next time. I didn’t tell you to do your homework because I shouldn’t have to. But, a trap has been laid for you now. Prepare yourself. I’ll be back.
It might partially be me, but I’m still blaming the mask.