Behind The Masks

As I was walking through the grocery store, I noticed how we can’t tell if someone is smiling or snarling behind the mask.  I watched so many people’s eyes as I only needed a few items and I wasn’t in a hurry.  For the most part, they looked grumpy, agitated and a few of them looked like they were scowling.  I know grocery shopping isn’t the most fun activity, but where’s the human kindness?  In fact, I felt like that because I couldn’t see their faces behind the masks, they didn’t even try to hide their negativity.

So, me being me, I smiled at them.  When we ended up in a spot where our carts almost collided, I let them go first and smiled under my mask.  “Go ahead,” I offered, but received no response whatsoever.  And it happened a few times!

Life is so interesting these days.  I find people watching fascinating and I didn’t take offense to any of the reactions to my patience and kindness.  I just wished them well and hoped they’d snap out of the fog that they are in.

It’s hard to read people’s reactions from behind the masks, don’t you think?  Unless you can watch their eyes and even then, I can’t really tell unless their eyes crinkle that they’re smiling.  Maybe they can’t see my reaction either, but I did use my voice to let them know I was being kind.  And I didn’t do it for anything other than to be kind.  But it was so interesting how there was zero acknowledgement of kindness in return.

How’s it going where you are?


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21 Responses to Behind The Masks

  1. Yes Janie, I have noticed the same. I was sitting on a bench waiting for a train last week, crocheting (as you do). I felt someone’s energy focussed on me and looked up an from across the platforms, a guard on the back of another train was watching me. I actually pulled my mask down briefly, so he could see my smile from a distance. He waved me over and at a distance, both masked, we chatted. We agreed that it is all about us finding ways to connect while missing the usual facial expressions and sometimes touch. There is so much judgment flying about, springing from fear no doubt, that connection is needed more than ever. We are all connected. ❤ to you and your children. ❤


  2. scr4pl80 says:

    I agree. I try hard to smile behind the mask and, like you, have started to look at the eyes of the people around me.


  3. TJ Fox says:

    When my daughter wore her mask on stage at her recital, she made sure you could see her mood and attitude by winking. I cannot tell you how many shots I got thinking she was always blinking until she told me what she was doing and I really started looking closer. It was awesome! But, yes. It is really hard to tell someone’s mood when wearing a mask.


  4. The V Pub says:

    We need clear masks, or ones with happy faces on them. It’s so hard to determine a persons mood without seeing their faces.


  5. LA says:

    It’s hit or miss. I was at the market yesterday. Woman was right behind me, no mask. When I asked her to back up, she ,ate a face


  6. Paula Light says:

    Many here in Orange County, California don’t bother with masks, so I am just staying far away from everyone who isn’t family 😢


  7. petespringerauthor says:

    Eyes, by themselves, don’t give away much of an expression. I run into many people on my daily walk (socially distancing), and the reactions are quite varied. I’m that guy who says hi to everybody. Many are quite friendly, while others look straight ahead and don’t even respond.


    • janieleeds says:

      It always astonishes me when people don’t respond to a smile or a kind hello. I understand when one may feel like they want to be left alone so I get it. But it is fascinating to try to understand people…good for you for trying!


  8. Rainey says:

    I miss seeing people’s faces. I guess I didn’t realize how much we communicate without even speaking. As for the scorny scowls, I think adversity shows our true colors. Some step up to the challenge and support one another, even if it’s just a friendly smile. Others, hmmm, not so much..


  9. Elizabeth says:

    The same here! People are scared and unsecured. Going to the grocery store is really stressful, I don’t make eye contact with anyone, but of course, I still keep my thank you, please, excuse me. It’s tough and I think it will be this way for long.


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