Who Was That Masked Man? And What Did He Say?
One thing I’ve learned about myself in the Age of Corona is how dependent I am on seeing people’s faces to communicate. It’s very difficult for me to understand speech without the visual component. Masks effectively mute people.
I’ve never liked speaking on the telephone, and always blamed the phones. I thought the connection was bad or the tiny speakers were poor. Now I realize they were never the problem.
That might also explain why in school I learned nearly everything from the textbook, almost nothing from the lecture. It’s not uncommon for a teacher to speak with her back to the class as she writes on the blackboard. That method works for most, apparently, but not for me. It shut me out.
It’s strange to have this revelation at my age.
I don’t think the problem is my ears. I quite often will hear a pot boiling over or a timer going off that Mona doesn’t, but she’s able to speak on the phone without difficulty. I think, for some reason, the part of my brain that interprets audible speech just doesn’t perform up to spec.
On the plus side, I’ve become better at reading eyes. When someone smiles I recognize the little crinkles that form in the corners. I notice eyebrows that raise with comprehension and wrinkle with concentration. Old faces are easier to read than young ones.
I don’t always get it right. But I’m learning a new way to communicate, and that’s kind of cool.