As the pandemic mounts its surge across North America – and people increasingly succumb to the government’s fiat for isolation – there is a rising needfulness to communicate with one another. Staying indoors during springtime is itself a high order; then add to that the prescription to avoid contact with others. This isn’t an invitation to move the party into the garage out of the rain. It’s a cancellation of the get-together entirely. As a result we’ve had to learn new skills for meaningful and inspiring exchange. Suddenly those casual rendezvous at the coffee shop seem more impulsive than we may have once credited them to be. There is as well the awakening of erstwhile dormant connections, conveying their own implications and complications, urges and urgencies.
Apart from this Olympic social transition there is the indisputable confrontation of one’s private agenda – a formula which is now all but archaic or at the very least highly uncertain. If you have the fringe benefit of nothing scheduled until later in the month or subsequently, you may distract yourself for the time being with guesswork and “hope for the best” rhetoric. More and more however the projection is that it will be 18 months or two years before we’ve seen the other side of this epidemic. I don’t know about you but that pretty well squelches anything I had planned. The phenomenon has lassoed more than a car wash. It veritably alters the way of life. For those who are unemployed or out of business it poses a financial crisis of catastrophic personal import. For others it is a time to hunker down and watch old movies.
Meanwhile I have succeeded to reiterate the thesis I’ve always advanced that accommodation is the key. Though I never imagined my view of the world would be quite so rampant, the limitation of current affairs is unquestionably widespread. Nationalism has taken on a completely new texture, one which is both restrictive and confining. The stimulus for shopping has decidedly been quelled. Social niceties of forbearance have been exhausted by dominant health concerns – to the point of enhancing the most colloquial meaning of immigrant. Even if we order our groceries on-line there is the supervening anxiety about who packed them in the first place. And what about haircuts? And nails? And visits to the dentist and optometrist? All those hands moving about us and touching our faces! Never mind the prostate exam!
Granted these are trifling puzzles compared to the fix in which many find themselves. Elective surgery has taken a hit. For those entwined in mandatory medical treatments the situation is not a great deal more comforting. Once again the overriding impact from and upon the front-line workers is not negligible. Our ways of human interaction on every level – whether on-line or in-line – are yet unfolding. One’s own relatives are a potential toxic threat! The elemental character of humanity is currently under distress and subject to avoidance. We’ve had to acquaint ourselves with ways to open and close doors with our elbows!