This mask thing is throwing a wrench into my communication comfort zone.
My Dad always said, “The sweetest thing a person can hear is the sound of their own name.” Personally, with due respect to my late father, I think, “You’ve just won LottoMAX,” has a certain ring to it, but odds are we’re more likely to hear someone say our name than the lottery deal.
He was right. It is nice to be called by our name, to see a warm smile go along with the salutation. Although we tend to communicate more and more via email, text, and private messages, face-to-face is still the cream of the crop. To share a smile - sweet, innocent, sardonic, sarcastic, special, private, whatever - a smile adds so much to the moment.
Masks mess it up. Don’t send me letters. I get the importance of masks during this pandemic. Honest. I understand. We have masks, we are self-isolating, keeping our distance, and missing normal.
Maybe it’s because masks are so…real. We can stand six feet apart and still have a conversation, pretending we just like this spot better. We can order online or do curbside pickups from businesses and convince ourselves it’s more convenient. We can wash our hands more frequently and never leave home without hand sanitizer, but that’s simply good hygiene.
A mask leaves nowhere to hide. Absent Halloween or SCUBA diving, masks mean medical, and when we’re in a hospital, they’re normal. They are not normal out on the street or in the grocery store.
These are weird times. Covid-19, George Lloyd, protests in cities throughout North America and around the world, entire neighbourhoods at home, kids taking classes online. Spouses debating which day it is. Thank goodness for Thursday garbage pickup to give us a reference point.
Toilet paper, flour, and yeast are the new currencies, and instead of reading Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, I’m browsing Public Health Ontario’s Mask Use for Non-Healthcare Workers. Both are in a stack with the County’s David Frum’s Trumpocalypse and Trumpocracy, for light summer reading.
It’s a good summer to stay home, reset, read, be grateful we can do so, and be thankful for the frontline workers who don’t have that option, who rely on their masks for much more than a trip to the grocery store.
Speaking of reading, enjoy this issue. Daniel completed his photo shoots in the pre-COVID-19 bliss of last autumn. Looking at the scenes of people mingling, maskless, reflects to a time we may have already lost.
Thanks for turning the page.