Text messages from my siblings, Facetime chats with grandparents, occasional phone calls with close friends, online poker and social media have kept us all somewhat connected. Still, social distancing is difficult. After all, we are social beings.
Some people aren’t taking it seriously, which makes the social pressure difficult to navigate. I saw a group of river rafters getting off the river yesterday. You certainly can’t be on a raft 6 feet apart from others. I’ve seen hikers, walkers and teens hanging out in closeness typical of any friendship.
Young people probably feel immune or invincible to this virus because they aren’t being labeled “high risk or the most vulnerable.” But 20-30 somethings are the reason bars and restaurants are closed. Because they aren’t as vulnerable, it makes their actions even more dangerous, since they can unwillingly spread the virus without symptoms.
Social distancing has made coming up with a local column more of a challenge. You see, I typically starting churning ideas in my head based on happenstance encounters with people in the community or observations I have made during the week. I try to find a common theme to wrap the story around and seek out people who might have some tidbits to offer to the storyline.
For kids, it’s especially difficult to ask them to stay 6 feet apart, which is why many families have opted to just not let their kids out. We’ve had a few emotionally trying times over the past week, and I know my kids miss their friends. Despite the daily conversations on internet video platforms, my kids are still asking for playdates. A week ago, I said “maybe.” This week, we’ve turned another page in the chapter of social distancing, and the answer is “not today.”
There are more online resources for kids and parents than anyone can keep track of, so when the analog packets arrived from school on Monday, the bus stops were abuzz with excitement. Now we have a few more tools at our disposal and we can digitally unplug a bit more.
The weather has certainly been a huge bonus to being home, at least we can step into the backyard, work in the yard, or go walking and biking. Imagine if this had happened in January when we had that horrible fog? Dread. We are about as lucky as it gets during this grand experiment, imagine being cooped up in a high-rise, parks closed, and not allowed outside? That’s the reality for millions of world citizens and our fellow Americans.
The school is doing a fantastic job keeping us informed through emails, Facebook, school lunch drop-off info sheets and school messenger. Teachers are keeping “office hours” so kids can check in and stay connected. It goes without saying that school is one of the cornerstones of social life in any community, and seeing the teachers’ smiling faces (from 6 feet away) on the buses each morning is a delight. Today, ILC principal Sara Mounsey and Tammie Hill from Methow Valley Elementary were there to greet us. Teachers and staff are taking turns rotating through drop-offs, so each morning we get to anticipate who will show up. We can’t wait for Mr. Sanders, Ms. Miller or Mr. Gutzler or Mr. Venable to show up on our route! (No. 4 hint, hint).