Did you ever wish you could just stop time? Be able to just freeze time and space for a brief moment, or an extended period, to enjoy something so magical, so special that you’ll never get to experience again?
I think we’ve all had that wish at least once in our lives.
Nobody has ever been able to accomplish it, but the last few weeks have made it seem like some sick bastard figured out how to do it but broke the main-spring trying to restart the clock.
Like you, I’m pretty tired of living the life the Coronavirus threw us into. Day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute of… well, nothing.
Prior to this, I never heard the term “social distancing” before. I remember back in high school the priests and nuns used to tell us at the school dances to leave room in between for the Holy Spirit, but that was something different.
Social distancing is the new catchphrase uttered continuously throughout the day. We joke about it in casual conversation, we see signs at the supermarket telling us social distancing practices are in place as we do our best to stay six feet away from each other.
Going to pick up groceries (aka junk food) is now the most exciting part of the day/week/month for many of us. It’s pretty much the only time we interact with other members of the human race.
Not all are willing to interact, however.
I made a day trip to the Winn Dixie to pick up a pint of HaloTop (fake) ice cream the other day and as I casually strolled down the frozen food aisle, a woman scurried away faster than a roach when you turn the lights on.
At the checkout, I became a little self-conscious and gave my armpit a little sniff to make sure I didn’t forget to wear deodorant because the person behind me was keeping enough of a distance I could have parked a van full of priests, nuns, AND the holy spirit between us.
The cashier was positioned behind a shield of shiny new plexiglass, because you know we all spit, sneeze, and snot all over these poor workers on a daily basis. The bagger, on the other hand, was left to fend for himself with no shield to block spittle from the throngs of virus-carrying customers.
In order to make sure all that (fake) ice cream doesn’t find its way to my waistline, I start the day off by walking around the local park – which miraculously hasn’t been shut down by the Gestapo yet.
There are two types of people who gather to do the same thing. The first, which is the group I find myself in, is the “Don’t Give a Shits.” We go about our walk, say hi, and occasionally stop and chat without measuring the distance between us.
The second is the group I refer to as “Paranoid Distancers.” They’re the ones who, when they see you coming from a considerable distance, take a wide turn off into the unbeaten path, to avoid you like that psycho you once dated 12 years ago.
Social distancing apparently works, at least that’s the line we’re being fed from the people I flip the channel on every night.
But how far will it go?
And for how long?
Great efforts are being made to keep me and you from being within six feet of one another. Businesses have been told to shut down, the majority of which may never reopen. Food delivery people are dropping pizza boxes at your front door, ringing the doorbell, and running away like a prankster leaving a bag of flaming dog excrement on Halloween eve.
Schools are closed, graduations are canceled, beaches shut, churches open.
Time has certainly stopped.
When someone does figure out how to wind up the clock, one has to wonder what will the post-social-distancing world be like.
Will we return to business as usual or will the world we became so familiar with be changed forever forcing all of us to adapt yet again? Or will we simply put all this behind and pick up right where we left off.
Only time will tell.
Once it starts moving again.