My ears were pulsating, my forehead was glistening, and I was feeling faint. I was wearing a mask for the first time in public. I was extremely self-conscious as if I was in highschool again. I thought I was slowly suffocating. I couldn’t hear the cashier when she said the total and I kept holding my breath so my glasses would stop fogging.
The second I pushed my cart of groceries out the sliding doors I ripped the mask off and gasped for air. I sat in my parked car for a while to catch my breath and calm down. I could tell I was panicking. I wasn’t scared of catching the virus, but I was scared of wearing that mask every time I needed to go into public.
Besides the feeling of suffocating I was also just so embarrassed about wearing the face covering. I felt like everyone was staring at me and judging me. Finally, a fellow Rochester Mom, Mamisoa, told me that she felt empowered wearing a mask because she could “act a fool” and nobody would know who she was. She could just randomly start dancing in public and remain anonymous. That really changed my perspective!
Fast forward 2-3 months and it is almost normal. Now I grab a fabric face mask from the coat hook before I head out. I still smile at strangers as I approach and then realize it looks like I am just staring them down with crinkled eyes. While waiting in lines, people like to compliment each other on the different styles of masks and fabric patterns. Instead of being self-conscious, I feel smart and protected.
One day, while leaving the post office I walked up to my black Ford Escape, opened the door, sat down, put my foot on the brake, and pushed the start button. Nothing happened. So I put my foot on the brake and pushed on the start button again. “What is going on?” I murmured in frustration. The dashboard flashed a message: “Key fob is not in vehicle.” I started to dig through my purse and verified with my very eyes that the key fob was indeed present. Then I looked to my right and noticed that the stuff sitting on the passenger seat was not mine. I quickly looked around the car more and realized… I WAS NOT IN MY CAR!
The amount of time it took me to realize this was so embarrassing, on top of the fact that I was sitting in someone else’s car! I quickly stumbled out and saw an older gentleman walking towards HIS car. I laughed awkwardly and apologized several times. I think I blacked out because I don’t know what he said in response. I just hurried to MY black Ford Escape which was just one parking spot over.
I hopped into my car and it started right away. How embarrassing!!! But then I realized that I still had my mask on. I am anonymous. I think that is the only thing that got me through that embarrassing/hilarious situation. I drove home in silence. When I told my husband he just shook his head at me. So instead of randomly dancing in the grocery aisle while masked, I guess I just sit in random cars.
Life may feel like it has been flipped upside down but I am still trying to find something to laugh about. At least I didn’t get sprayed in the face by a bidet…again.
[Read Sprayed in the Face by a Bidet here]