The Changing Face of Masks

“Oh damn,” I mumbled to myself when I realized the tap feature hadn’t worked on my debit card. I fumbled with it and inserted it into the card reader instead. The keypad was barely visible through the foggy lenses of my glasses perched on top of my mask. I took a half-blind guess at my PIN and got away with it.

“Moothoo sath a foints garp?” asked the masked checkout clerk.

“Pardon me?” I never realized how much I depend on lip reading.


“Oh! Oh! Yes, yes.” I fumbled through my purse for my wallet again and held up the card for her to scan.


With my groceries haphazardly tossed into bags (Note to self: don’t pack the lettuce on the bottom next time), it was with great relief that I realized my ordeal was nearly over.

All I had to do now was to safely wind my way through the people milling around the other checkout counters, and then I would be out the door and free. Free, free!

Grocery shopping is certainly not the casual, relatively mindless task it used to be. In the past, I automatically knew where everything was and would whip around the aisles with Super Woman confidence. Now, I stress out at every turn. Am I going the right way down the aisle? How am I going to backtrack to get that thing I forgot? Is that lady actually touching ALL of the watermelons? And when I leave the store, you can bet I’ve missed something. Every time.

Safely back in the car, when I can finally remove the mask, it’s such a relief.

Let’s face it, none of us really like the mask. And for me, not only do I have the eyeglass frames around the back of my ears, but I also have hearing aids. There’s a lot of competition for space back there. So when I stretch the elastic of my mask behind my ears, they flop forward like Dumbo. Only not as cute.

In spite of all of that, I made the decision a couple of months ago that I was just going to have to get used to it. I started wearing the mask any time I was indoors somewhere other than my home, because I figured that some day soon it was going to be mandatory in a lot of places anyway. I have one mask that I keep in my car, and one I keep in my purse, so I’m always prepared.

Only a few short months ago, I thought it was odd to see someone in a store with a mask on. “Paranoid!” I’d say to myself with a chuckle. Now I’m more concerned about those who DON’T wear masks. “Cov-idiots!” I grumble, hopefully not too loud.

Masks used to be something you wore at Halloween. Now I’m more spooked if I forget mine. And since masks became mandatory on public transit, I have appointed myself as a member of the Mask Police Force. I will glare at any passenger sitting on a bus without a mask. Anyone who can actually see me through the window, I mean.

In fact, today as I was out on my walk, a transit bus slowly passed by me and I had the opportunity to stare inside of it. There were only two passengers that I could see. The first one was definitely wearing a mask. The second one I had more trouble seeing, so I squinted and peered as much as I could, and then SMACK! I walked into a street sign.

I didn’t make that up.

I had to take a minute and calm myself down. There’s nothing worse than a self-righteous, foggy-lensed, Dumbo-eared mask cop.

9 thoughts on “The Changing Face of Masks

  1. Hi Irene,
    Great story, can totally relate! Am so scared I,ll loose one or both of my $8000.00 hearing aids! Also wear glasses and am totally fogged up 2 seconds after entering grocery store plus can,t understand most conversations-what am I missing-help?! But you are right, better get used to it, this virus ain,t leaving. Ant time soon!

    • You’re right, it ain’t going away any time soon. So maybe in the near future, they’ll figure out a mask model that has built in glasses and hearing aids, lol!
      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      • Hi Irene
        Thank you for all your humerous stories. Everyone needs to hear and see humor in these days of isolation and mask wearing, not to mention the mental strain of worrying if someone they love or know may get infected with this horrible virus.
        I just wanted to ask you about your mask wearing that you are telling other people about.
        You mentioned you keep one in the car and one in your purse. I am afraid they aren’t doing you much good if this is so. We have been told to only wear our masks one time and to be careful not to touch the outside of the mask when we are taking it off. We were told to “drop” the mask into a sealable bag until we got home and then wash it with soap and water with a touch of vinegar or bleach.
        It is not easy but it is the right and safe thing to do.
        Thank you again for you much needed humour.
        Parksville, BC

        • Hi Judie…that’s good to know! I do wash my masks, but haven’t heard about putting it in the sealable bag. Thanks for passing that on!

  2. hearing aids with glasses? I cut 1 inch piece of 1/4 inch elastic, folded over and stitched shut. Slip this over dome onto tube of hearing aid. Slide glasses arm through, put glasses on, put dome into ears and no more lost hearing aid.

  3. You can get masks that have elastics that go around the back of your head rather than around your ears.
    I did laugh at the bus story (and I would have laughed if I was the one who walked into the sign as well).

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