The suggestions that my friends came up with were hysterical and also genius.
My Girl of the Year 2020 came from some of the deep frustrations that I am feeling as a person with a big hearing loss living in the middle of the pandemic.
This is not really new for me, I am always frustrated with how hard it is to live with a hearing loss like this.
I decided to share my comments for a Pandemic Joss to help others understand what she would be experiencing right now.
Joss' Pandemic Accessories would include two different sets of face masks and a cell phone.
The first set of face masks are hand made ones that her mom sewed when they first realized that they needed face masks for the pandemic.
Then they realized that Joss could not lip read in those face masks, so she and her mom were forced to make a second set of face masks with a clear plastic layer in the middle to help Joss read lips.
It wouldn't be sufficient for Joss to have one of those face masks. She does not need to read her own lips. They had to make these special face masks for everyone Joss might interact with- family, friends, teachers, coaches, fellow cheerleaders.
The cell phone is so that Joss can use a transcription app to help understand people. The transcription app a) needs Internet, so it doesn't work if there is a problem with wifi b) doesn't work if the background is loud c) doesn't work if the person is too far away and d) doesn't work if more than one person is talking. It also frequently says things like "cat sounds" or "trombone sounds" even when these sounds do not exist in real life, so Joss laughs a lot at inappropriate moments.
Joss is left out of family and group gatherings even more than before, so she spends a lot of time on Instagram on her phone while everyone else is talking. Her parents wonder if she is turning into a sulky teenager early, and she feels sad that she is acting this way, but it takes too much energy to connect otherwise.
Joss spends a lot of time in her backyard now that she can't go to the beach, so her furniture is a set of patio furniture, two Adirondack chairs and a small table.
Joss also has a laptop, which helps her attend school virtually. She cannot wear a pair of headphones, because it might further damage her hearing, so she has to attend school in her bedroom so that the noise won't annoy her parents or brothers.