Too Close For Comfort
A friend recently shared a photo memory of our yearly birthday celebration posted on a popular social media site. The photo was taken last year when a patron at a local restaurant heard it was our birthdays so he took it upon himself to sing to us. The photo shows us sitting close together with this “stranger” singing at the top of his lungs. I said to my friend, does this photo make you squirm as we sat with no masks and him singing so close to us?
Later that week the exterminator showed up at my house to check the foundation for termites and ants. While I was in the basement he knocked on the outside window to say hello. He waved and asked how I was doing and went on his way. The exterminator should have been wearing a mask, but he was outside and a glass window separated us. Still, I felt unsafe, exposed, worried.
Our lives have changed. Thinking of both of these scenarios make me squirm. People standing too close, and not wearing a mask. I back up to move away. I tighten my mask and search for gaps. I wave and blow kisses instead of hugs.
When will we feel safe again? When will we judge that we aren’t standing too close to each other? When will we really feel safe to go mask-less?
Maybe we will need time to heal and get back to normal.
Maybe this is the new normal.
Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!