My immune system is presently compromised. I am unable to easily fight off infections and highly susceptible to germs or viruses. As a result I wear a mask when I leave my residence…which nowadays is just to the hospital where I receive daily injections to give my bone marrow much needed boosters. I am finding that people are more wary of a person wearing a medical mask than wearing a niqab.
I’m by nature a gregarious person who enjoys the company of others. I have no difficulty to give a smile of welcome. Smiling was something I had to learn to curtail in Saudi Arabia where a simple smile could be misperceived. However in North Carolina most people do smile. Now that I havr to wear the mask people can not see that I am smiling in spite of the medical challenges. I look at an oncoming person and find that most tend to avert their gaze down to the ground when they see I am wearing a mask. Can they not detect there is a smile behind the mask?
It is also a natural instinct I think to look down when passing a woman wearing the niqab. In her case she has chosen to cover her face and thereby silently states she wants her privacy protected. Yet I have also noticed how expressive women who wear a niqab can be with their eyes. I guess years of practice make a difference. Or perhaps when random folks see a mask they do not bother to look at the eyes. I guess next time I go out I’ll draw a smiley face on the outer side of my mask.