Six Feet

And just like that, two days into the shelter-in-place order, humanity already misses each other. The government mandate to stay inside and maintain six feet of separation is a bit like a parent telling a child she shouldn’t touch the hot pot on the stove. She didn’t want to touch the pot. She wasn’t even thinking about the pot. But now she needs to touch it… 

Or is it just me? I went out for a walk this morning, since that’s still legal, through the eerily quiet streets of my small town with signs posted on the front of all the closed shops. Only  small scattered pockets of people were out, apparently taking care of essential tasks. And as I passed others on the street and we stepped as far away from each other as we could politely manage, we all seemed to be giving each other kinder and slightly apologetic smiles, as if to say, “I’m happy to see you and I’m not afraid of you.” I think we’re already craving that basic human connection with others, and missing a time when being friendly to neighbors and strangers didn’t carry a risk of endangering them. 

I fall far on the “introvert” end of the scale and generally find myself craving alone time far more than any big social gathering. I don’t even really care for talking on the phone much (but if you’ve ever gotten a text or e-mail from me, you know I have plenty to say!). So what is this strange phenomenon of needing to feel connected to random humans that I don’t even know? I suppose maybe it’s just the solidarity of knowing we are all going through this health crisis together. Whether you’re an at-risk individual, health care worker, drug store/food service worker, delivery driver, work-from-home parent with children to wrangle and teach, bumping into too many family members all day long, or a single individual with far too much quiet in the house, no one is immune from its effects. And no matter how far apart we may feel from each other right now, we really are all in this together. Maybe we’ll be kinder and more appreciative of the freedom to connect with one another when we come out the other side, whenever that may be. 

In the meantime, stay sane, protect yourself and others, help where you can, and pray that your coffee pot does not break right now, because some things really aren’t survivable! 

Laura Poblete 

Laura Poblete
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The Broken Piano
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