(Warning: This is NOT a post about COVID-19, not really. It’s more about an observation on what COVID reveals. I know we’re tired of talking about the pandemic, and I apologize for contributing to it!)
It’s spring, the weather is suddenly warm, and because the country is deep in “social isolation” as a result of an out-of-control pandemic, people are teleworking, schools are closed, events are cancelled, and most people are staying in or close to home.
At least that’s the idea.
Strangely, there are more people out, together, than I’ve seen in a long time. I’m outdoors some almost every day, and the difference in the past week is absolutely amazing. Groups running, walking, sitting in folding chairs in the driveway while kids play in the yard, playing pickup games of basketball, kids riding bikes and playing street hockey and using all manner of excuses to get out of their homes and interacting – ironically at the one time we’ve been asked not to.
(And to digress a little, there’s good reason NOT to interact. Yes, most of us feel fine, healthy – and will probably remain so. But we’re SO bad at understanding, at grasping the consequences of exponential growth. We haven’t realized that the 10-fold growth in infections will continue. It took two just under two weeks to go from one hundred cases to one thousand, and then another two from one to ten thousand. This will ABSOLUTELY continue if we don’t behave differently, and get the heck away from each other. Things will be horrific in about a month when those cases hit a million. And then ten million only two weeks later. It seems impossible, but that’s the math these things operate by).
Anyway, the difficulty we have in isolating is NOT the problem the title of this post refers to. The “something wrong” is that it takes a pandemic, that it takes deliberate and specific instruction to avoid each other, to get people together. Within our state, we had police close a park a few days ago because two hundred and fifty people showed up at the playground. WHAT?! I’d guess that park has never seen that kind of traffic when people are healthy. Is it because the restaurants and bars are closed? Because after school activities, soccer games, etc aren’t happening? Is it because work sucks SO MUCH life out of us that we can’t go outside without a disease to keep us out of the office? (In my area the vast majority of people are teleworking, so theoretically the work itself hasn’t changed much, it’s just changed location). Are we so stir-crazy after less than a week that those wonderful neighborhood interactions are THE thing to do right now? We suddenly realize that the activity of last resort, getting outside, is a pretty good thing after all?
Somehow, we’ve mostly torn ourselves away from the internet, we’ve gotten outside, and we’re enjoying nature, the world, and each other’s company. Why the heck can’t we do that under normal circumstances?
Now, in the middle of a pandemic, when the world’s going crazy, and people are scared, they’re reaching out and interacting. I can only conclude that prior to this, the burdens of “normal” life prevented this kind of behavior. There’s something wrong with that.
Get Out There
(But isolate, and stay healthy!)