My worst fears are becoming a reality. I’m losing my ability to communicate. In the way I am accustomed to anyway. Don’t be mean to me, or pity me. Just laugh WITH me.
Let me set the scene:
I decided to to take Preston through the Chick-Fil-A drive through yesterday. Once you get in the line, you’re trapped. There is no escaping. As soon as I roundthe corner and see that the the car order people all have on something that sends me in a panic! MASKS. Every single one of them. 4 of them to be exact! I won’t be able to read their lips.
I calm myself down and tell Preston that I’m going to need him to pay attention because he’s going to have to be the interpreter. He looks up briefly from his Candy Crush level 19879 and promises to help. I pull up to the guy with the red mask and our conversation goes something like this…
Employee: (all I see is the red mask moving. I have no idea what he said)
Me:(I figure if I know my order and blurt it out, he won’t ask any questions) I would like to order 4 #1 combos. All with teas. And a #6 with a fruit cup and water. Extra mayo in bags please.
Employee: (mask moves only)
Employee: (mask moves again)
Me: (I budge Preston who is oblivious and still playing Candy Crush)
Employee: (mask moves in rapid fire succession and I assume he is repeating order)
Me: (I have no idea if my order is right) Yes, that’s all!
Employee: The masks moves(for some reason I notice that his nose is not covered. 🤷♀️
Employee: Mask moves again
Me: Ohhh, you want my card?(and I try to hand to him)
Employee: (shakes head no, and the mask moves).
Preston: (who must have finished that level) He wants a name for the order.
Employee: (mask moves and he looks a little harried but doesn’t dare ask) He points to my debit card And whips out the little machine.
Me: after 5 tries of the mask moving and the machine being flipped around, I finally put my card in the scanner correctly. Done.
By the time I made it to the pick up window and faced mask number 2, I was MUTE.
The feller at Chick-Fil-A was super sweet, I’m sure. His mannerisms said so. I’d have lost my cool with me.
I knew this new reality was coming. Just last week I went into the local pharmacy to pick up Preston‘a medicines and there was not a set of lips to be seen. The sweet clerk quickly realized my struggles and stood back enough to pull down her mask and conversate with me. I left and went home and ordered nearly 20 masks from a friend that have the windows for lip reading. Those went to my family for our families to wear so that us deafies can at least communicate with each other.
Poor Preston learned a valuable lessson in forgetting his window mask and having to wear a spare N95 😷 that was in the car last night. I took him to Tractors Supply to get a part for our gate. I couldn’t function. I left him in the store. 🏃♀️
Why don’t I know sign language? Sign language isn’t for us deaf people as much as it for you hearing people to be able to communicate to us. Our county has very, very limited people who know sign language. I only know enough to be dangerous.
I’m a professional speech and lip reader. I’ve always prided myself in being able to tell you if the guy in the restaurant was with his wife or mistress. I know all kinds of secrets that I will take to my grave. I know what some of your grandma’s really think about you spoiled brats. In recent years, God convicted me of my honest eavesdropping and I’ve worked really hard to retrain myself not to always hear lips when I see them moving!
Last week, I packed one of those window masks and asked my family to please send it to the hospital with me, should I have to go during this quarantine mess. My biggest fear is lying in a hospital bed with masked people around me. And no family to act as an interpreter. I think I might close my eyes at that point and beg God to bring me home.
If you can go to church drive-in’s, GO! I haven’t been to church in months. There isn’t a parking space close enough to my preacher’s lips. I am blessed that while I can’t watch our services online either- lips still not in focus, there are options. I have been able to find a few services of Pastor’s preaching from their desks with the camera a few feet from those pearly whites….thank you Jesus! Charles Stanley always has a great closed captioned message on TV as well. But it’s not my church. I yearn for the day that I can be back on a pew in the spitting section.
I do know that there are so so so many people that struggle much harder than I can ever imagine. I’m blessed. So blessed.
A few months ago, I shared that Preston was reading the same scriptures over and over and over even though he’ll forget them. He reminded me that he was hiding God’s word in his heart. My tall guy is a wise one. I should have been doing this, too. Preparing myself for what this COVID19 was going to hinder me from.
May we all be a little sweeter and nicer as we go out in the world today. And if you run into me and you’re wearing a mask, rest assured that I will ignore you and flee. But it won’t be on purpose.
See your blessings,