…on human interactions in the future
We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 51.
RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon
Today in #Beirut, it was the first day of the second phase of lockdown easing. Restaurants are open today, with many restrictions. So are many other small businesses, such as barbers. Hairdressers will open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, while barbers can open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Having a “necessary” errand to run, I went out thinking things would still be quiet on the corner of the American University of Beirut. But alas, it was mayhem. We are back to the double parking, but worse yet, everyone I encountered had no social distancing on their minds nor were wearing face masks. Gloves are a thing of the past.
On the way back, I encountered a lady going up in the elevator. She did not have on a mask or gloves, and she stood as close to me as possible. I freaked out. This is the second time during these lockdowns that I freak out because someone is not maintaining social distancing with me. The first one was at the bank a couple of months ago. And when I lose my s%*^, it is not a pretty sight.
I was hoping the Lebanese people will follow the instructions for the phase-in of openings and would adhere to the guidelines by the Ministry of Health. I was also hoping that the police would be more visible in monitoring. I was hoping that all the efforts of the poor Minister of Health, who has managed to help us contain the virus in Lebanon, with fewer than 750 cases despite the protests.
So how do I see human interactions changing in the future? I simply don’t, with so many Covidiots around.
Essentially, this means I am going to keep on losing my s%*^ and freaking out. I suppose my view on the change in human interaction means I will be staying home for a long time to come.
Thanks to the pandemic
Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC
I’ve gotten a bit metaphysical about the pandemic lately. I’m wondering if the pandemic is Mother Nature and the Universe bringing some balance back into our insane world.
- Thanks to the pandemic, we’re not likely to go back to being smushed into overcrowded planes.
- Thanks to the pandemic, we may seriously consider doing something about the overcrowded highways. How many people now teleworking wanna go back to sitting in traffic for two hours when the trip should only take twenty minutes?
- Thanks to the pandemic, continuing to telework could give parents extra time for the working/life balance they want.
- Thanks to the pandemic, we’re probably going to be seeing automakers bow to making less polluting cars sooner rather than later.
- Thanks to the pandemic, families are spending more time together.
- Thanks to the pandemic, people are going outside more and walking off some of the hours spent at the computer.
- Thanks to the pandemic, colleges are looking at lowering their bloated tuition costs.
- Thanks to the pandemic, scurrilous lenders may no longer be able to keep students indentured to student loan debt for the rest of their lives.
- Thanks to the pandemic, kids being bullied at school are getting a break from the misery.
- Thanks to the pandemic, parents are having to home-school their kids. That’s going to up teacher appreciation and maybe their salaries.
- Thanks to the pandemic, the overheated stock market is cooling its jets.
- Thanks to the pandemic, karma is having a bit of a laugh at folks who belittled Muslim women for covering their faces. Now we’ve all gotta cover our faces when we go out.
- Thanks to the pandemic, online dating is less about the quick hookup and more about getting to know someone first.
- Thanks to the pandemic, we see that Mother Nature sees us all the same. She doesn’t care if you live on Nob Hill or a rented trailer. She’ll kick anyone’s butt when she chooses.
- Thanks to the pandemic, we have time to reflect on what we really want out of life and not wait till later to go for it, because if there will be a later.
My list could be twice as long, but I’ll stop here. I want the deaths from the pandemic to stop. I don’t want to go back to the way life was before the pandemic.
The new “normal” and the elderly
Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon
We all keep talking about the new “normal” and how it will be different after the lockdown. I think young people will welcome it. After all, weren’t they born with an iPhone and iPad in their hands? Isn’t social media already their mode of communication?
Weren’t many give debit cards as soon as they were old enough to use one to spend their allowance? Do they even know what a check is? What about the elderly?
I am 76 years old, and I don’t even think of myself as elderly. I believe I am fairly computer literate; my son may disagree with that. He gets a call from me every once in a while—I need IT support, please. At least I hope I say please, sometimes I am so upset that I have no idea what comes out of my mouth.
I have friends, some even younger than me, who only have a flip phone; some friends have no cell phone at all. Just yesterday, I paid my bills online. Yet I have friends who still write checks and even balance a checkbook. One friend had to go to the bank last week to cash a check. I asked why? Just take a picture of the check. I have to admit, I was skeptical of doing that the first time I tried. I still haven’t tried Zelle. That’s been out a couple years now, so I am behind.
With the new “normal” being more and more computerized, automatic, and impersonal—don’t forget social distancing. How will the elderly and computer-challenged (I like that instead of illiterate) be able to function? One way is for those around them to be helpful by teaching and reteaching, patiently, and understanding. Simple things for the younger generation are complex for many of the older generation. While so many things are advancing, there needs to be a way to make the way we do things backward-compatible for those who did not grow up with a computer in hand.
When I think of all the problems in the world, this doesn’t even seem important. There are also simple solutions. I wish there were simple solutions to the other problems in the world. I am forever hopeful.
Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia
I remember the first few weeks of the outbreak, everyone felt so awkward. Familiar greetings like shaking hands and hugging were now questionable. We threw an uncomfortable air hug when seeing someone for the first time in a while. Followed by some embarrassed laughter hoping they didn’t consider it weird. We left people hanging when they extended a hand for a simple handshake. Thinking “You must be joking, I’m not touching you.”
Now it is universally understood that we keep our distance and have no physical contact. Everyone is anticipating that post-corona this lack of physical contact will become the new normal, and we will forever stop our intimate greetings.
I disagree. Most humans are programmed to hug and kiss. We feel better when we are physically intimate. So I believe we will continue distancing for only a few weeks, and then we will fall right back to the way we were pre-corona.
I have always said we are a nation of amnesiacs. We have a short-term memory when dealing with crises. Life will be bizarre for a while, but this will pass. We will forget all the crap we had to go through, forget how people suffered, forget the dead, and slip right back into the way we were. Huggers will be huggers, the touchy-feely will continue as before, and germaphobes will be ….. well….they probably will be more accepted.
RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain
Is it really Day 51 of lockdown? Was there really a global pandemic? Just a few days ago, social distancing was the rule. You wore gloves, you maybe wore a mask, you washed your hands obsessively, you stayed away from other people. OK, you cheated by going to the grocery store a little more than necessary. But you did NOT gather in large groups, hug your besties, or do the mwah mwah as you greeted your friends.
Today, we are un-distancing at an alarming pace. Kisses and hugs are spreading as fast as the coronavirus did. At the beach, the crowded boardwalk is happy and full of life, with all the elderly, little kids, teenagers, and young adults going out to socialize. Clearly, our newfound freedom is something to celebrate, even though just a few days ago, we were crippled with fear of physical contact. Hello, neighbor, kiss, kiss; hello cousin, hug, hug.
What else will we forget? What will change? Here are some predictions for the long-ish term:
- Business and Work: More people will telecommute and start businesses. Location-independence and the digital nomad lifestyle will become the norm. At the same time, the number of those Chained to a Corporate Desk will dwindle.
- Travel: Back to the old normal after much dramatic fretting, lobbying, and feeble attempts to sanitize trains, planes, and buses. There will be half-hearted efforts to make travel affordable again. After price hikes and much wringing of hands, we’ll see special deals for romantic getaways and luxury business travel. Cruises will make a comeback.
- Bureaucracy and Paperwork: YAY! I predict that standard processes will be significantly streamlined as government and other institutions implement more sophisticated automated systems.
- Dining Out: Back to business as usual in a couple of months. It’s too difficult to eat in when the weather is glorious.
- Interpersonal Relationships: The business handshake might take a while to make a comeback, but physical greetings among friends and family are already back. We miss our people, and an elbow bump just doesn’t convey how much we love them.
These are a few notions based on what I’ve seen in the past two days. But here’s the thing: If we can’t maintain social distancing just a couple of days after total lockdown, where will we be in a week? A month??
Here’s a final prediction: if we’re not really, really careful, we’ll have a second wave that will propel us into another lockdown. I know our survival instincts make us rebound quickly from short-term adversity. But what I’m observing is long-term folly.
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