Bellingham During Quarantine (“Can you tell I’m smiling under here?”)

My new mask arrived and I was pretty excited to take it for a spin on the Bellingham boardwalk and see how it worked for me. As someone who is hard-of-hearing, masks can be kind of problematic for me: I can’t read people’s lips when they’re wearing masks; people’s voices are muffled through masks; I can’t see the facial expressions that tell me if someone’s friendly or hostile; I can’t send my own smile out into the world to let people know I’m (mostly) harmless; and my hearing aids get all tangled up in the straps of my face masks and start beeping at me. So when my new “smiley face” mask arrived I was hoping that – even though it couldn’t make me hear any better – at least it might let people know that I’m smiling at them…

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