Tonight, I had a Zoom video chat with some friends in California, Georgia, and Kansas. It was a fun night, bantering about politics, COVID-19, our respective at-home situations, and life in general, and it was so comical because it wasn’t like we were talking about anything particularly significant or meaningful, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless. These are the types of conversations and interactions you get when you hang out with friends in person or stop by a colleague’s desk at the office that we can’t really get anymore since we’re all sheltering in place.
The definition of “togetherness” has changed in these times. Once upon a time, it was normal to hug or kiss a friend in greeting, Now, we’re not supposed to see any of our friends unless we live with them. After the sheltering in place has ended, will we still greet each other with hugs or kisses? Will that be considered acceptable? What will weddings and funerals look like shortly after shelter in place ends? Will the banquet tables need to be spaced out so that there’s six feet of space between each guest, or will the funeral rows require that every two seats, people could sit? Weddings have been cancelled and postponed, but when setting a new date, how do we know all this will be over by then? It’s never really going to be “over,” right, since we have so little tangible data about who has been infected, how possible it is to get reinfected, or how long the virus can stay dormant in our bodies without us even knowing it?
The only togetherness we can have now is via video and phone. Everything else is just distant.