Wearing face masks has its many challenges

Sometimes I forget that we’re living in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic and that life is weird and very different.

This is, however, until I realize I now leave the house for work with an expanded checklist of everything I must take with me for a successful day.

Yes, it still includes my purse; my makeup; my driver’s license; proof of insurance; proof I exist; credit cards for all emergency and non-emergency expenditures that might present themselves, (and I surely hope that they do); my car keys; my cell phone; my lunch; some money “borrowed” from Better Half’s wallet in case I’m in a pay-cash kind of mood; a decent attitude; my wits about me; and, oh yes, a mask.

Don’t … forget … the … mask.

And I’m not talking about a Halloween mask here, regrettably.

Life wouldn’t be so bad if I could wear one of those, maybe a Chewbacca mask from “Star Wars,” that could justify my making odd noises when commentary or question-answering is in order in the workplace.

No, I’m talking about a mask that the vast majority of us are adapting to or trying to adapt to.

How many times have we left the house only to return for our new outfit accessories? I can’t get used to leaving one in the car, dangling from the rearview mirror like it’s a graduation tassel or an air freshener or a symbol for safe travels.

My ears never felt so useful thanks to having to wear these masks. Not just for hearing. Not just for eyeglasses to have something to wrap around and keep me from squinting. Now my ears are a necessary part of the mask-securing process.

Of course, the need for a mask has pretty much eliminated the need for toting around lipstick, so that’s one thing that doesn’t need to be in the old makeup bag any longer.

What’s the point, right?

Actually, that’s one upside of masks — no need to buy more tubes of lipstick that turn out to be the wrong shade and don’t look so hot anyway.

I’ll never get used to wearing these masks, that’s for sure, even if I wear a decorative one, including a mask with a horse on it, which someone made for me.

True, it might spark conversation, but who can speak clearly or hear well for that matter in the midst of masks covering our mouths?

I certainly have discovered that this is not my forte, that mask-wearing does not promote friendliness and social interaction.

I tried to strike up a mini conversation at the grocery store checkout the other day, for example, and I ended up repeating the same brief comment several times — How are you doing? All I got was a furrowed brow and a head shake as a response.

Someone tried to have an involved conversation with me recently, and I shook my head and acted as if I understood what was being said, but honestly, I felt like I was in that “Seinfeld” episode about the low talker. You pretend you hear. Huhh???

We react and respond with arched eyebrows these days — the sign of recognizing someone you know.

After all, If I’m talking with my glasses on, the lenses fog up. Such a lovely bonus.

As the joke goes, if you’re wearing glasses and a mask during these COVID-19 times, you might be entitled to “condensation.”

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)


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