14 Things face masks are hiding or highlighting since COVID-19
Face masks are part of the World Health Organisation's safety measures to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19, and in Barbados and across the Caribbean, in most quarters face coverings are mandatory.
It's a lot of 'No mask, no service' in the Caribbean now, even in Barbados despite the country having zero confirmed active cases at present.
There is a movie called The Man in the Iron Mask based on a novel by Alexandre Dumas, and in these post-COVID times, Loop Lifestyle can't help but recall this story that became a movie and smile at how the tables have turned. Now everyone is the man in the iron mask.
Caribbean culture is unique and we are an expressive people, out culture is fighting up with this mask issue real ting, but we are not alone with the challenges faced due to masks.
Here are some things that masks are stopping or showing up:
1. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley asked Barbadians to stop doing that thing that they constantly do. What's that thing? "Touching your face, stop it!" We touch our faces a lot and other people's faces too. You see a speck on someone's cheek, you ready to pick it off. Hmm...no wonder "pink eye" or "red eyes" [conjunctivitis] spreads like wildfire in the Caribbean at times.
2. Smiling. It may seem so simple but Caribbean people smile a lot, even at strangers. Now it's in the eyes, but who wants to be looking so closely at strangers?! Creepy much!
3. God bless Moses. Comments like: "Gie me a smile", "You can't smile?", "Smile nuh" and all its rude variations have disappeared from the vocabulary and lips of men on the roadside who used to assault females with these requests.
4. On the flip side, some women are now hearing, "I know you smiling behind that mask mannn".
5. Reading lips has gone out the window. Have you caught yourself speaking to someone across from you and having them ignore you or look confused, only to remember, "Oh yea, you can't see my lips!" Bet you were about to remove your mask to paint or wash that person and then it clicked.
6. "I can't hear you!" Some people are wondering if they're going deaf or if the people around them are deaf since face masks showed up. But to put it best, once there was a Science teacher who used to say, "Hold on. Let me put back on my glasses so I can hear you." At first, you don't get it, but somehow seeing the person's lips and hearing their voice helps people listen better.
7. "Too talkative in class". Everyone feels like this should be on their adult report cards now. With how many times during a conversation one has to fix or adjust a mask, it feels like, "I like I swallow a radio. Let me hush". So if mid-convo with a masked person you hear, "Well alright, so yeah." Know that person told himself or herself, is time for me to shut my mouth now. Mind you, they may not have been talking for a good minute, but masks make you aware of your speech.
8. On that note, what's your lung strength or capacity? Do you feel out of breath after convos while wearing a mask? Do you tell yourself, "Yea, let me hush so I CAN BREATHE"?
9. Hoarseness. It may seem weird that some people are experiencing this side effect when most people are talking less as pointed out above, but when you do talk, most people have said that they find themselves yelling and shouting behind their masks in order to be heard. By the end of the day, a few people said they sounded like frogs.
10. Psst... Like the requests from random men for smiles, the seetsing or cat-calling with masks on are gone for now.
11. Stupse or schupse. Nothing speaks volumes like sucking one's teeth, and masks are sucking the life of it. You soon start hearing Caribbean people saying behind their masks, "Look stupse nuh!" Just because they can't actually "stchooooooo" with the emotion they wish.
12. Signalling to your bestie or close friends and family has gotten a bit more difficult. Remember when you used to use your mouth to indicate and point out someone to convey: "Look look" or "Look you best friend". That time, you know good and proper de person don't even speak to the body you now see. Being dangerous covertly is now in shambles. You have to hope a nod in the person's direction or a widening of the eyes gives the old signal. Caribbean culture struggling. We are not okay.
13. For those who used to eat in waiting rooms or while walking about in certain places like malls, those days are gone. No more "grabbing a bite". Eating doubles around the vendor must look a lot different now. Getting a sno cone from the cart in a town gine be trouble.
14. In an event now as entertainment resumes slowly but surely, when wearing a mask how does one react to Dancehall, Bashment soca, Warbados chants, Zesser music or any big tune? "Bup bup bup" and sliding hand claps won't hit the same in the fete. We can't even begin to the think about how many times during an event or cruise one will have to fix his or her mask and touch his or her face and it's back square one.
This mask life ain't easy.
How has your mask changed your life?