An online friend Carly who is a published author and overall amazing human recently reached out to me. She wanted to know my opinion on filters used by various social media platform. I won’t share here what I shared with her but once she published what she is writing I will link it. Whatever she says is going to be what I think, just written 1000 times better.
Her questions did get me thinking about something else that has been becoming more of a trend. Those custom avatars. A lot of my FB friends have been posting them. I’ve enjoyed seeing them. However I do kind of feel left out. I can’t get one to look like me. Because as with anything to do with these, they are not friendly to those with differences.
Yes, I know these things might be trivial for you. Not a big deal, not worth my time. I’m not overreacting or being childish. With how fast technology is developing I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that in 2020 I wouldn’t still fell like I’m in school being shunned.
When technology doesn’t include everyone it’s failing. Those with disabilities are always the last thought, an afterthought or at worse not given any thought. That’s how I feel when I see my friends posting their cute avatars that they’ve created. They are sharing them and using them in every day interactions. I’m just as always on the outside looking in.
Please don’t take this to mean I don’t think people shouldn’t use them. Have fun. Share them, I love seeing how cute you would be in a cartoon. I don’t need or want anyone’s pity. I just for once want companies to provide a more inclusive experience.
It’s the same when I try to use the Animojis or Memojis through Apple. It can’t really track my face and the end result does nothing for my self esteem.
As soon as Apple announced that these would be a feature I instantly knew they would be useless to me. There isn’t a way to get them to work I’m a way that makes me smile. Again it’s a random silly little thing and yet it angers me. Makes me sad and is something I’ve thought about going to the Apple store to actually complain about. But my better sense comes along and I go about my day.
I use facial recognition to unlock my phone and I can tell you the process for that was about what I expected. To this day when I use it it’s at odd angles that I notice my sister and her BF don’t have to use. In some cases mine lets me unlock my phone from quite a distance which isn’t half bad. It makes me wonder what surveillance type facial recognition would see me as. Would it dismiss my face as little more than white noise?
I’m off work this week, a staycation, cause you know, reasons. I have a few goals and one of them is to try and to do a blog post a day. Fingers crossed, thoughts and prayers.
Tonight I wanted to talk about my experience during this very odd time we are in.
We, like the rest of the world first heard about this new virus in early January. Canada had its first confirmed case of of Covid-19 on January 15th, 2020. Sooner than most countries, including the states which wouldn’t see its first case until January 19th. Public heath told us that we shouldn’t worry, wasn’t any evidence that this new virus was easily transferable from person to person. I don’t think I gave it much thought at all. In early February I got a call from a friend that sounded more alarm than anything we heard before. We took that warning with a grain of salt but we did heed it and did stock up on some items.
In late February I had to take a trip to my Neurologist‘s office in Toronto. I travelled in crowded conditions both to and from. I answered a questionnaire asking pointed questions. Reminding me a lot like what happened during SARS some many years before (2003). I will need to admit that I was annoyed. I did sit beside an older lady who was coughing. Which I’d be lying if that didn’t give me pause as I was answering those few questions. But again I didn’t think much about it.
In the first week of March I had to go to my optometrist’s office to get a hair plucked out of my eyeball. At this point it was clear this virus wasn’t to be ignored. There was real fear. I remember taking public transit but being extremely careful not to touch any surface. I was very proud of the fact I didn’t touch anything other than my bum to seat and used my jacket to pull the cord to get off. Got home washed my hands and that was it.
On March 16th I noticed I wasn’t feeling well. My throat was sore and I had developed a fever. Knowing this might be nothing or something I didn’t say anything to my sister. I managed to work my shift on the Tuesday but as the day wore on I knew I couldn’t ignore my symptoms. I contacted my local Public Health Department. I spoke with a lovely person who took my info and said I would be contacted if I would need to be tested. I was then told to self-isolate. I told my manager than I told my sister. That wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have. After finishing my work day, I began a long two+ weeks alone in my tiny AF bedroom.
I had a fever for much of those two weeks. I slept most of the time and barely ate. I coughed a ton and had more than one night where my coughing kept me awake. There were times I’d cough so hard I’d bring up the little water I drank. It wasn’t a fun time.
The first few days I waited to hear from public health. I was also in contact with my family doctor. Public heath got back to me via email, they would state that due to the lack of testing kits, I would not be tested. To this day some almost 3 months later I don’t know if I contracted Covid-19 but based on the fact my lungs are still not healed my respirologist is pretty confident I did. I’m now on two daily inhalers which I take every 6 hours and recently had to take prednisone for 5 days just to get the inflammation under control. I don’t know the exact nature of the damage my lungs suffered and might be some time until I do. It sucks.
My health is just one aspect of how Covid-19 has impacted my life. Mom hasn’t been able to go to her day program on Wednesday’s which has meant my sister and I get no real respite. When we have our PSW we used to be able to go out, have coffee but now we either stay home or got for a walk. Getting groceries has been a challenge as it has been for everyone.
It’s now recommended that one wears a face mask when distancing can’t be observed. Well I’ve had a hard time getting some. I’ve ordered from two places one in early April and one early May and so far, nothing. I wish I had my dream sewing machine so I could make a customized one to fit me. But as someone with a facial difference with severe asthma I’m not keen on them. Facial masks are made for the population who are normal, I’m not that. I have the head the size of a four year old. I assume I will be knitting an ear saver, not to save my ear but to ensure I can tighten the masks. Fingers crossed the masks I ordered show up soon. Also fingers crossed Lysol wipes are not so hard to get, I have senior dogs one of whom is not above doing his business of the floor and I need more to help clean up the mess.
We are at the point where things are going to slowly reopen. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think it’s too soon. I don’t think we will adjust what we have been doing.
On the topic of masks, I’m seeing an awful lot of mask shamming. Whereby people are being AHoles to anyone not wearing one. Here’s the thing I’ve always been one to mind my own business. Unless there is a danger to someone else or anything like that, I don’t people watch and try to judge someone for what they do. I have a feeling when I do get out more and if I can’t wear a mask imma going to have a hard time with people. I doubt very much I will be able to safely wear a mask. I think it’s going to be like herd immunity. As long as the majority of people wear one it will help those few of us who can’t. People to that will than tell me I have no business being out in public then. Damn that sounds familiar, that’s what disabled people have faced since the dawn of time. We are always forced in to darkness and kept indoors, being told we are not welcome because we are different. Well, I’m not having that. I have JUST as much right to be out in public as anyone else. I will not be held up in my home when I need to go out. Of course that means more when things are opened up. Not quite at this point where everyone is still staying indoors. So please if you see someone without a mask just keep going about your day.