The Irony of Social Distancing

The last few days have been interesting and have really been an eye-opening experience as I reflect back on the hours. My idea of what social distancing would do to my life included a limitless supply of boredom served up on peanut and jelly sandwiches washed down by water or powdered milk if you could find any in the cabinets. Maybe we can find some canned salmon or chicken with some frozen veggies on the side. Wait, wait, I may be able to break into that dry bean soup I have been saving for the end of times.

Whoa, screech, screech … not so fast! I live in Georgia and not just any part of Georgia, I live in Augusta, GA. The home of the world-famous Masters Golf Tournament. It was scheduled to happen the first week in April when thousands of golf lovers would descend on our grand city. Well, the Masters was postponed and some say the entire city is going to blow away. It doesn’t seem like folks are conceding to that train of thought and the biggest adjustment so far is restaurant curbside service and busy new drive-through windows. Neither the postponement nor social distancing have impacted the weather either. The end of March has been beautiful hanging in the 70s. My suspicion is that the Greek god of Meteorology, Jupiter, is asleep or not watching the news and has not figured in the corona effect. For now, mowing the lawn and sitting outside to enjoy a cool drink in the sunlight is going off without a hitch.

To add even some more confusion to the mix of the corona virus self-isolation, my wife and I have taken to walking not only once per day, but twice! The self-isolation and “Work stoppage” at most offices with a “Work from home” directive has caused many of our neighbors to be in the “Hood.” That is morning, noon and night and every day. Is there a workday or evening difference? It’s not proving to be so different. And, “Social distancing”, is causing the strangest phenomenon in the behavior of my neighborhood. People must be dropping their devices, laptops and even televisions to go outside and enjoy the air. Wait, isn’t that corona virus air?? If it is in the neighborhood air it is causing some to sit on their front lawn and wave from a safe distance of at least six feet apart or others even to walk carefully on the opposite side of the street and say hello when passing. In fact, I think that I have found people who may have been cave dwellers in underground tunnels beneath their homes. They may have been freed by “Social distancing.”

Irony, I am so glad it exists. It is the surprise impact of the effect of something. It’s a lot like a comedic punchline. Did you know what was going to happen before that comedian delivered the “Killer” line? No way, but it was funny. Here in my neighborhood, corona and social distancing are creating a social and aware environment where people are wondering inquisitively about their closest community. It’s not about fearing that their neighbors may be infectious. It seems to be a new desire to be aware of them, their neighbors. It’s as if connecting with them now is important.

I am not sure how the corona virus will inevitably impact me or my family, but I believe the ironies so far have at least some elements of goodness. My goal is to not lose the hope momentum and to focus on those positive indicators of humanity that set us apart as communities and neighbors. As our health system and personal health is tested, I believe there will be many micro-cures of communities delivered by the ironic impact of social distancing. I look for them to provide electricity to fuel more unpredictable and positive magnetic connections and hope they bring.