Although I completely understand the importance of masks, it does make everyday tasks a bit more difficult, and many agree that masks are an inconvenience in our day to day life.
I personally struggle with masks as I work at Hy-Vee serving Chinese food and pizza. It’s difficult enough to understand what customers would like to order with loud ovens, a thick glass between us, coworkers helping other customers, and other background noise.
Previously, I had to rely on lipreading and customers pointing to whatever dish they would like. Without lip reading it makes it difficult to understand people, and both customers and workers are equally frustrated. Often, it leads to misunderstandings on both sides.
Coworkers struggle with understanding each other as well. Normally if we’re running low on a certain entrée, the servers would shout what they need and the cooks would make more. Masks, while necessary, are a communication barrier that makes our jobs a bit more difficult.
I have a mostly love to hate relationship with my mask. I wear them because my dad is very sick and I don’t want him to get sicker, however I live with a lot of anxiety and now the masks are a big source of anxiety.
I am claustrophobic and having something on my face restricting me is really hard to deal with.
It’s also really upsetting to see people walking around a store with a mask on their chin especially while they are sneezing, like what is the point of evening having it one you’re your face?
I also really hate that I can’t smile at people anymore, I used to always smile at everyone.
For me, it helps to be able to look out a door or window when I am feeling claustrophobic. It also helps to have gum or hard candy with me in class for moments when my panic is stronger, it gives me a moment of control and I need that sometimes.
One problem involving masks is lack of balance. While wearing a mask can limit the spread of the coronavirus it’s too easy to let caution turn into paranoia. This, in some ways, is the situation with Kirkwood’s policies.
Students have been told their masks must cover their faces and cannot be pulled off of the nose. Students have been told not to drink or eat in classrooms. This is going too far. Pulling your mask off your nose from time to time can allow you to get a few better breaths of air. Taking a periodic sip of water helps me manage social anxiety as well as relieve feelings of claustrophobia brought on by the knowledge that I can’t remove my mask.
I’ve become more accustomed to wearing the mask and to not drinking in class as the semester has progressed but the first few class periods were rough and I even considered dropping my classes. I’m sure plenty of students are still having these feelings.
The point is we need balance. We can protect ourselves and others without going overboard. We can courteously turn away from anyone sitting near us and take a quick sip of water or a gulp of fresh air through our noses without causing a superspreading event.