Mask-wearing practices in the United States, at this point, are slowly killing me.
Over the last year, I’ve become more and more socially isolated. I’ve lost those easy interactions that added so much to my day – with clerks, fellow shoppers, the people in restaurants, at church.
I’m what is called HOH – Hard of Hearing. Not considered Deaf, but, due to loss of hearing function, considerably diminished in the ability to join into the social networks that surround most of us. I don’t sign, as is the situation of most of us whose hearing was lost later in life.
After I took a hearing test, and was told that I’d lost about 30% of my hearing, I ordered my first hearing aids. What a difference they made – I could hear the phone ringing, the tea kettle whistling, and fully participate in the conversations around me. Even phone conversations were crisper and more understandable.
I’ve replaced those first hearing aids several times (the life of a set is around 10 years or so, max). Recently, I bought a significant upgrade, in anticipation of needing to hear better on phones. Because of improvements in technology, the newer aids stream the conversation directly into your ears, making the process seamless and smooth.
Then came COVID.
Life has not been the same since.
Zoom calls and phone calls work, of course. But, with the population forced/persuaded to wear masks in any situation involving those not related to them personally, nearly all my communication takes place in a muffled world.
What can I hear? Perhaps 40-50% of the conversation is garbled, often completely beyond any ability to understand what is being said. That’s WORSE than the situation I faced when I first bought my hearing aids.
When I am in stores, I usually have to ask for those assisting me to repeat their directions, often more than 3 times.
If I see ONE MORE PAIR OF ROLLED EYES in response to being asked to repeat what they are saying, I’m not going to be responsible for what happens. The least that might occur would be to slap the snide look off their face.
So, mostly, I don’t go out. When I do, I resign myself to being talked over. To not understanding what is said. Which, in some circumstances, can be a bigger problem than slowing up the line.
Like misinformation about a course of medical treatment. Like misunderstanding how a medication should be taken. Like them deciding that I’m “losing it” and need to be evaluated for dementia.
Or, in the case of church in person, missing nearly the entire sermon’s message. I don’t even want to think about going to confession in a time of masking.
I am generally forthright about my issues with hearing. I generally ask for people to slow down their speech (about 1/4 to 1/3 slower generally helps, as does carefully enunciating consonants).
But, people forget. Or get impatient. Or, frankly, just don’t care.
So, I go home, and resolve to stay in my little cave.
And, every day, become less inclined to reach out to other people.
It doesn’t help when people with passionate convictions about current events and topics are equally passionate about how those who disagree should just “shut up” and be banned from social media.
Great. It’s one of the few things keeping me together. Great idea to push those like me off it.
Is there a solution?
Sure. But, it’s not one that the Left will tolerate.
It would mean that ‘Mean Girl’ pile-ons would stop. It would mean, rather than call someone a Hater for any slight deviation from the Accepted Progressive Norm (what they think of a The ONLY Way to Think That is Not LITERALLY Hate), you try to listen to what they ACTUALLY conveyed.
Maybe even say (rather than a condescending “That’s Racist/Sexist/Hateful”) “That’s interesting. Why do you feel that way?”
And, listen to the answer. You might even find out that they have a reason for their beliefs or position. One that does not stem from a salivating and depraved desire to see Officially Oppressed People DIE, DIE, DIE.
You may still disagree with them. But, having spent some time listening to them, they would be more inclined to listen to what YOU say.
Heck, maybe you might even – eventually – learn that their commitment to Constitutional Norms is based, not on a desire to enslave most of the population, but on a bedrock belief that this is the way to protect ALL Americans from abusive tyranny from government. Even those who don’t look like them.
I’m not writing this to ask for pity. I just want people to realize that getting that superior look on your face, as you condescendingly inform me that masking is critical, and only horrible people are against it, is just sucking the heart right out of me. You are putting me in a cage of silence. It’s solitary confinement.
You wouldn’t treat a ‘undocumented refugee’ like that. Or a criminal.
Open the cage. Take the masks off most of the population, as they are NOT contagious, and, hence, not a danger to the rest of the nation.