the mask thing

I don't think I've ever related to anyone less than the segment of the population who want to keep wearing masks. I cannot fathom wanting to be muzzled like this for a single nanosecond longer than is absolutely necessary. I'm not convinced I'm the same species as people who say, "Meh, doesn't bother me." Or, "I kinda like it." I get it. I understand all the reasons. You haven't caught a cold in over a year. Your allergies don't bother you as much. Your asthma is better. You like the barrier between yourself and your icky fellow human. What the fuck ever it is, I get it. 

But I am over here counting down the days (28) until I can rip this fucking thing off my face, stomp on it, maybe light it on fire, maybe slash it with a paring knife, not sure yet, but just get it off of me. It's more than the physical annoyance. Much more. By now I'm well used to futzing around with a mask, earbuds, sunglasses, and a hat to boot. I mean, I hate it. But I'm used to it.

What I have not gotten used to and would not, I'm sure, in another five years of this shit, is the inhuman feeling of having half my face covered up. My smile. My facial expression. My laugh. The shape of the words I am saying.

Sometimes I think I'm crazy - or at least, very alone in - how utterly depressing and dehumanizing I have found masks since day one. We are all walking around with one of the most essential parts of our bodies hidden from view. We can't smile at one another. We cannot smile at one another. Am I the only person that finds this fucking heartbreaking? Our voices are muffled, we have to repeat ourselves, half the time we don't bother trying. It's like we've had to hit pause on connecting, unless we a) already know one another or b) it's absolutely necessary. 

I feel like a zombie. I feel unseen. I feel disconnected. I hate it so, so, so much. 

I have never once gone maskless. I have played by the rules and I have done so willingly, to protect everyone as well as myself. It was never a question for me, ever. But my god. Here, just a month away from the mandate dropping in California, when I can feel normalcy within reach, I am starting to comprehend how psychologically fucked the mask element of this whole disaster has been. And while maybe I'm just overly sensitive to it, one thing is for sure:

I will never take another human face, in all its imperfections, for granted again.