Almost five months ago, I posted here about how separations really drive our economy. And I thought to myself, “Yeah, that’s fine I can post about this, but are people ever going to really get it about how important distance is to our daily lives, not to mention our survival?”
Now, separation is a part of our daily lives. Like it or not, we’re all involved in a master class of how to live life without the usual contacts we have with family, friends, co-workers, and all the people who used to annoy us, whom we suddenly miss (or not).
And any case I wanted to make about how we actually need distance in our lives, has been made for me. An invisible (yet deadly) little organism is making its way through our world, thanks to close contact. And one of the few ways we actually know we can address this is to keep our distance.
These days, we’re all (hopefully) social distancing. Or at the very least, we’re being urged to practice social distancing, in hopes of limiting the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Memes abound (see above), some of them more entertaining than others. Some are hilarious. Others… well, they’re memes, after all. And as all of this unfolds, with few of us feeling truly safe, needless to say, we’re all looking for the meaning in this.
Some folks look to their faith. Some look to science. Some look to their leaders. Some look to data, patterns, trends. Others watch t.v. or go online (and stay there). But wherever we look, the impulse is the same — to find the meaning in all of this… To understand. To not feel like our lives are being completely wasted over nothing, and that we and the ones we care about, truly do count for something in this impersonal world that frankly doesn’t seem to give a damn about whether we live or die, these days.
To be honest, I’m not sure whose “camp” I’m in. Maybe all of them – an eclectic mix of faith and science and data and pattern-finding and television murder mysteries and social media. I can see the value in all of them. Tho’, to be honest, I don’t look much to leaders these days, other than to figure out if their policies are likely to get me killed or not. Everybody’s free to look wherever they like for direction and comfort. I’ll never begrudge anyone their own inclination. But I’ve been thinking about distance and separation for years, now — which goes back to long before the several years I spent researching and writing Beloved Distance.
And in the midst of this all, I find some unlikely comfort that the patterns I recognized about humanity’s dance with distance are playing out just as I’d expect. It’s not that the circumstances are great – they’re not. But at least I recognize the general awfulness that’s making the rounds, these days.
Right now, I’ll take whatever comfort I can find.