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  1. Holly Hein

    I recently read an article on the importance of our daily interactions with strangers. Ironically it was written just before we were all forced to have little if no encounters with strangers. And it made me realize that it’s what I’ve been missing most. Keeping in touch with friends and family members has been possible in some of the ways we have available to us: chatting, FaceTiming, Zooming, Marco Polo videos, texting, distance walks. Even though we have limited hugs and touches, we know what’s going on with our usual people.
    I have received lengthy emails from friends I haven’t heard from in quite awhile and “friend” requests from a surprising number. We’re all on our computers every day now so we are reviewing contact lists to see who might possibly want to hear from us.
    During this time of no dinners with friends or meetings or haircuts, church gatherings, yoga classes, errands to the bank or the dog groomer, graduation parties, shopping for new stuff – I am beginning to worry that I won’t want to do any of those things once we can again. In a way, this is introvert/homebody heaven.
    It’s the people I run into during my usual days that I miss. The smiles and nods, the “how are you’s,” the “what a great day’s,” the banter at the cash register or the guy at the post office that can just make my day, or the barista who makes me exactly what I want, or the guy who passes me on the track with a “how ya’ doin’?” I miss those interactions. I’m wondering how they all are doing. Those people I pass now on a walk or at the store move far out of my way, they look away as if once our eyes might meet, I will pass my germs to them, or those who have on masks like they might be contemplating holding up the store. It’s all odd. We can’t hug or even shake hands with anyone these days! But we are doing as we must. We are “social distancing” and “sheltering in.” We are doing this for each other and that’s what is bringing us closer together, not the interactions but the solidarity that we are doing as we should, and that the day will come when we can gather and say, “we did it!”


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