Monday, December 21, 2020

Distance World


This photo is from back in the day when we went out and about in the real world. I took my husband's picture at Niagara Falls. The other people in the picture have haunted me every time I've viewed it. We were on a road trip from Austin to Maine and back with various stops and adventures.

Our forays into the real world are now limited to walks. We try to stay apart from the people we encounter. Particularly those without masks. We either walk from our building or (more usually) from a place we park in a not too far away neighborhood.

We mostly encounter others in the pets and artifacts they display outside their homes. Instead of going to a Christmas party in someone's home (we were always invited to a few) and surreptitiously looking at the books on their shelves we look in Little Free Libraries. Sometimes we take a book. Sometimes we leave one. Instead of seeing people's art and decoration in their house, we see yard art and choices of exterior paint.

We join with people on social media. I have Facebook posts that I put up to entertain and connect with people there. (Current efforts are photo journeys through neighborhoods with pictures like the above, Christmas photos from the past leading up to Friday, Monday Murals, Monday Museums, Trip Tuesday, Wednesday on the Water, Throwback Thursday, Food Friday, Saturday Strangers, and Saturday Shopping.) I put up random thoughts and links to articles. I look at others' posts on Facebook and on Twitter. 

A few people come out of the woodwork and quote unreliable sources about election fraud and such. But most people give you a view of their lives. My husband is currently producing a Monday literary thing on Facebook. We take pictures of food we make or get from take-out just like we used to take pictures of drinks and food when we dined out. (I even take pictures of my cocktails at home occasionally.) 

One friend produces a cocktail picture, recipe and historical round-up of the drink every day that he is home in his New York apartment. Many friends post pictures of food they've cooked or sometimes food they are preparing or prepping.

Friends are posting pictures of their Christmas decorations (nine trees? really?) but we are guilty, too.

So it's like being invited to a party. We look at their holiday cooking. Or everyday cooking. So much more elaborate than ours often. We see what they are drinking and how they've decorated.

People talk about their front line experience with the virus. One fellow in our building wrote about it when he went to the hospital and when he came home. A high school classmate announced that he and his wife had it. Shortly after, his wife died. A local woman talked about the vaccine trial she was in and is now promoting the vaccine on news media. Relatives and friends announce they have tested positive. Others, we learn, don't admit it on social media.

Other people take neighborhood walks and show pictures. People go on road trips (!) and airplane trips (!) and post pictures. Our travel person went to Africa and Mexico. She not only planned our trips in the past but sometimes went along. I hope that will happen again. I hope she doesn't catch the virus. The Africa trip involved pre-testing, isolation. She flew in business class, had a mask and face shield, and went to places taking precautions. Still. We wouldn't have gone. We are older. But vicariously we went along on Facebook. Friends had to fly or drive to help elderly parents. We went along with their pictures and experiences.

One fellow who is as isolated as we are always posted random pictures he had collected on the Internet and he still does it. These spark random conversations.

People talk about injuries and illnesses that are not virus-related. Someone with a heart transplant has to be hospitalized. Someone falls and is injured. People are suffering from seasonal allergies. (I guess it's the constant mask but I haven't had allergies or illness in months.)

It isn't like being with other people and going to parties. But it isn't total isolation either.

No comments: