Surviving social distancing and the fear contagion
As strange and novel as it sounds, the notion of ‘social distancing’ is nothing new.
I am not a digital native. In fact I remember with great fondness the quality of life pre internet. Perhaps this is why I get slightly annoyed when riding public transit or sitting in a cafe and all eyes are fixed to a device.
I am just as guilty of retreating into a virtual bubble. We have all been socially distancing for a while.
If you are a millennial you might be saying to yourself ‘OK Boomer….’, but wait. First, I am not a boomer, I am Gen X, yes there is a difference.
Forgive my righteous indignation regarding smartphones and the virtual life, but I often feel inclined to opt out of social media chatter, the internet of things and surveillance capitalism in general. Paradoxically, I also feel somewhat resentful for being on the outside of important conversations on Twitter and other online platforms.
Relying on my devices as lifelines of connection while sheltering in place is a bitter pill for me to swallow. I miss the Intangible, but real facets of communication that cannot be transmitted through wifi and the 2 dimensional medium of a screen.
Like a hungry man looking at a photocopy of food, it is hard to feel satiated by a Zoom dance party or cooking class.
The basic human need for intimacy and connection is irrepressible and doesn’t obey ordinary logic, even in a pandemic. You can see it in the anxious eyes of the masked strangers at the grocery store, we need each other more than ever.
As we begin to emerge from the lockdown and face a mountain of social and economic suffering and unrest, the really hard work begins. We must confront the fear contagion that is keeping us isolated, even when we are surrounded by others.
Day 58 or the global pandemic