Sociable, socialite, socializing, and any use of the word social, pertains to interaction that occurs within human and animal societies. Oh, and space aliens to my sci-fi friends. You know who you are.
We shouldn’t normalize being socially distant just because we say it repeatedly and hear it everytime we turn on the television. We can’t normalize sheltering in place but connected to the outside world only through a variety of technical devices. Humans are dependent on both social and physical interaction for continuation of the species.
To me, keeping a social distance is a homebody who orders toenail clippers online before, during, and after a pandemic – and never answers their phone. Keeping a physical distance is telling your husband the Public Health Officer ordered all men to sleep on the sofa because snoring makes them more susceptible to disease.
The former is a lifestyle choice; the latter works for about four days until your husband realizes he’s being hosed.
I hope we don’t allow fear, hysteria, and hyper-vigilant verbiage to transfer to our children. We can’t condition our kids to think their survival depends entirely upon maintaining “social” distances from other people.
A pandemic is not the end of the world. Humans have come through bubonic plague, smallpox, Tuberculosis, SARS 1, Ebola, AIDS, superbugs, vector-borne diseases, and multiple strains of influenza. We will come through this virus also – even though the laws of nature can seem harsh and punishing.
What could lead to our extinction is normalizing our lack of face-to-face interpersonal contact, something we have been doing since Nintendo was invented. What could be the end of the world is prolonged physical and social distancing because we are not only changing human behavior, we are likely remapping human DNA in future generations.
We need to get through this difficult time and get back to normal human interaction without the prolonged use of virtual technology as an acceptable replacement. It’s time for people to stop sitting inside their houses practicing social distancing like piano scales and tap dancing, and slowly start maneuvering the world with physical distancing, reasonable precautions, and good hygiene. Only the vulnerable and highly fearful should be in isolation. We can’t hide from disease because nature will only demand another, as it does with all highly-populated species.
We can survive for a short time – during a health crisis – with a few yards between us. We can’t survive in a virtual world with no real socialization.
Distance learning, Facebook proms, online dating, independent college study, virtual moonlight walks on the beach, and working from home in your PJs (with unkempt hair and an unlimited supply of delivered food) will never lead to real children.
Let’s not allow social distancing to be our extinction moment before we even have a chance to survive a zombie apocalypse.