Life during a Pandemic is quite the existential challenge so reaching goals is good. Today I walked the last two kilometres to reach the March challenge goal of walking 298.8Km. In ordinary times this would be a great achievement but during a pandemic, it’s even more interesting.
Although it might seem superficial to reach such a goal it had two key benefits. The first of these benefits is that it got me to focus on the future, to think about the end of the month and not to focus on life one day at a time. During a pandemic it’s important to realise that a future still exists even if we do not know when that future will arrive.
The second benefit is that it forces you out of the house even if there is the challenge of avoiding close proximity to others and walking along roads. During these walks I always take pictures and I decided to compile an album on Flickr. That’s one of the other side effects of this pandemic. I spend more time using Flickr.
I find that Twitter and Facebook make me negative, because I strongly believe, that, with the right leadership countries could have avoided this pandemic. By spending time on Flickr I can stop thinking about the pandemic and think of the here and now.
People like to say, and think, that this pandemic will change society and will change how people interact but I do not believe this. I believe that society is more resilient and stubborn than that. Some people went into self-isolation as soon as they heard about the pandemic whilst others want to drink with their friends in crowded bars until they were closed.
People still shop within close proximity to each other and couples and families, may not see friends as often as they would otherwise have done, but on a daily basis, at home there has been no change. It’s just a long weekend. As I joked yesterday this is a great event for couples to really enjoy each other’s company.
The biggest change has come for people who are single and live alone. For them the daily interaction at the shops or the petrol station has been reduced to once a week or less. The result is that as an introvert/person going through a pandemic in solitude safety distances have become important. I’ve walked hundreds of meters and across fields to avoid having to walk next to others. I have even turned back and found another route on occasion.
People walking with children, families or people they live with are three abreast. They still talk the ordinary way, they still walk in the same formation. They still shop together. The difference is that they’re staying within their own family unit, but it’s still a group of people.
Whether this lasts for weeks or months there is a basic need for us as people to shake hands, to hug and to be in proximity to others, whether in small groups or large. During the pandemic our moral compass is telling us to be distant but when the crisis is over people will rapidly return to their old ways. Human nature doesn’t change.
I’d like to end with two amusing episodes I saw today. The first of these was a father and his boy looking out of the window speaking to people in the street below. They were behaving like that stereotypical of old women leaning out of windows watching the world go by and talking to the neighbours.
The second incident was a couple playing petanque with their own balls. It was amusing to see these glimpses of normality in what could be seen as an abnormal spring.