Egret and crab

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Anti-social distancing

Covid 19 has certainly taught humanity a whole new set of lessons in terms of how we relate to our fellow hominids. We are zooming, masking, bumping elbows and crosswalk buttons, forgoing smiles and all in bad need of a decent haircut. And we need to pat ourselves on the back, we are doing a pretty good job at dealing with all of that. Certainly better than those folks back in the black plague did anyway.

But I wonder what the long term implications of this pandemic will be, as it relates to our interpersonal behavior? Because honestly I don't ever see the genie fitting back in the bottle.

We have had two dear couples cancel planned rendezvous with us because they were worried about catching the deadly microbe. And these were events that they had set up, we weren't exactly pushing them. And I get it, we are not yet 65 so we are not in a tier that can get vaccinated yet. They had. I could push the cancer card and probably get one but where would that leave my wife? Anyway people are worried, rightfully so and covid is definitely crimping our interpersonal communications.

Anyway that is not the point of the ramble, the point is this. I think that people are enjoying their solitude and private space in a way that they may not have imagined.  And they won't necessarily feel comfortable after the threat has ended. I think that it will be difficult to revert back to the pre covid crowded human maelstrom when and if this whole microbe thing is finally over. Our social behavior has changed for ever, on a global level.

In my own case I believe that I have long suffered from some mild case of agoraphobia. I don't feel comfortable around crowds of people, especially when they are drinking. Concerts are excruciating. I like my humans fine one or two or five at a time but even then... There is no getting around it, I like my own space. And that is why I wander far into the fields to shoot big and little birds with my camera, because it keeps me as far away from humans as I can possibly be.

My shop has been appointment only for about fifteen or sixteen years. Lately even good customers have pointed out that I get antsy when customers stay too long in my private clubhouse/warehouse. I subtly or not so subtly find myself herding them to the door like a nipping Australian cattle dog at a certain point when I need my space. And it is pretty unconscious behavior.

So covid is maybe magnifying and accentuating my previous misanthropy and need for private space somewhat, giving it an excuse. I can only take my fellow hominds for so long, even the ones I really like.

I know that many people are fleeing compression right now. Redfin used to have about .05 of its queries looking for rural real estate, now it is 30%. I have had the trails in my valley to myself for thirty years, there is not a day that goes by that their are not ten to twenty cars of people roaming around.

It will be interesting to see if sports attendance post covid ever matches pre covid numbers again. Covid may hang around like influenza for perpetuity, will the mask become an essential item of the new paradigm for the next several decades, the twenty first century version of the necktie? Certainly makes more sense then the vestigial necktie but we still wear them. Will we ever be truly comfortable socializing again?

Won't draw this out, have a lot of work to do. But make no mistake, Covid has changed us forever. Ain't no going back.


Roy Jhciacb Cohen said...

I’m not so sure there will be any long-term implications from Covid, in a global sense, or even a local sense. It’s been a year, and it may be another year longer, but that’s a short blip in the scope of a human lifetime. It’s hard enough to keep profound transformations going, and I don’t think, with the exception of those who lost love ones, there’s been anything to profound about this, only inconvenient.

For most of us, we forget about inconvenience before it’s ever even completed.

Anyway, for what it’s worth…

Anonymous said...

"You want to save humanity. But it's people that you just can't stand." - John Lennon

Blue Heron said...

We shall see Roy. You may be right, but I would not bet on it.

Anonymous said...

I find myself agreeing with you. I'm enjoying not having any particular schedule to follow, even though I'm retired and made my own schedule anyway, and inexplicably, finding myself wanting even more solitude to wander in. What does that mean I wonder? ~ Diane O

Ken Seals said...

Robert, I think you are the exception to the normal human desire to be with other people (except for the severely introverted - which you are not :-) ). Roy is right, this will all pass and people will be getting back together for family and friends social activities, concerts, class reunions, etc.

Sanoguy said...

Ken... I hope you are right! I think we all need inter-connections with other people.

One change for sure that will remain in place is the idea of working at home. This will allow businesses to down size their offices and it will keep some, a few anyway, off of the roads. That will be a good thing!

Liz said...

I think some of this comes from the way we grew up. Even before covid I could only stand being with people other than mg for an hour or two a week. I have a feeling that I will continue to isolate myself except for a few knitting companions after they call a halt to isolation. I like isolation. And I don’t catch colds or the flu.

Btw, my surgery is next Thursday.

aferda said...

Forever is a long time. I don't think human nature has changed in thousands of years. While cultural norms may shift, human beings are social by nature. To varying degrees, for sure, but still social at our core.

Blue Heron said...

I think behavior changes all the time. Hence the plethora of tattoos and big ear gauges we now see everywhere. Hopefully you are right and I can have my valley back after covid. The onslaught of new hikers and visitors will magically disappear. Your mouth to god's ear.