Tuesday, November 10

People Can Still Hear You, Even if You're Wearing a Mask

I realize that masks make talking and hearing others more difficult, and wearing one also provides an odd sense of security that may or may not actually exist. While it's true people can't see all of your facial expressions, they can still hear you. However, if you're like me, your mask might entice you into forgetting that others can actually understand the words coming out of your mouth. 

When I drive around, I will often make comments about the people I see. That's probably fairly standard for most of us, but I've noticed that my kids do the same thing, except they sometimes forget themselves when the windows are down in the car. That's the same phenomenon I've experienced with the mask while walking around. When I'm in my car and masked up (with the windows up), I can sing along to Jay and the Americans at the top of my lungs, and no one can tell that I'm even singing along. But once I get out of the vehicle, I sometimes forget that I'm actually saying things out loud. 

I catch myself most often in parking lots, like at the gas station. I'll get out of my car and start filling the tank, but somehow my brain still thinks that others can't hear me just because I still have my mask on. Like I'll see someone in Jaguars Zubaz and say, "If you're not wearing Zubaz, you're just wearing pants." Or I'll see a car with a giant spoiler that serves no aerodynamic purpose and say, "Spoiler alert: that giant spoiler serves no aerodynamic purpose!" That's all fine from the  confines of my driver's seat, but I've found myself saying it with people standing right next to me, albeit a bit muffled under my mask. 

I feel kind of ashamed of one incident when I saw a youngish mom who was easy on the eyes, and I began singing, "Mamasita, Mamasita" to the tune of Maria, Maria by Santana because I don't know the Mamasita/Mamacita newer songs. None of that really matters. What matters is that she was standing all of 10 feet from me. The mask turned me into some kind of construction worker ten stories up above a street. 

It's like masks turn all of us into ventriloquists, except they don't, and it's all in our heads. When I was getting my car serviced recently and the dealership forgot to give me my keys after forgetting to charge me the right amount, I said, "Freakin morons!" as I walked out the door, assuming (somehow) that the people working there might think it was their boss (or maybe God) judging their ineptitude, but it was clearly coming from me as I walked to my car. Last year, I would never have said it because someone could have heard it AND seen my lips moving, but this year, I'm suddenly adding audible commentary way too often. And it needs to stop.

Anyhow, I pre and post-apologize for anything I might have said over the past several months within earshot of you, and I'm working on it.  

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