Social Distancing Day 5

As I write this, cities and states across America are implementing more stringent social distancing measures, because some people just won’t listen. Here in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker imposed a sweeping shutdown: restricting restaurants to takeout and delivery only, and banning gatherings of more than 25 people (except for grocery stores and pharmacies). That means you will probably have to cancel your St. Patrick’s Day plans (as you should have already). So most of us are pretty much stuck at home now.

But life goes on, for sanity’s sake at least. Over the last few days I’ve been coming to realize that “social distancing”, because I have been quite social, just not in person. We talked with two friends over video yesterday, and I talked on the phone with two more today. My roommates have been playing World of Warcraft with some of their friends. I’ve been playing Age of Empires 2 (if you’d like to play, let me know).

For the past year or so, I’ve been attending the Millennial Zen group at the Cambridge Zen Center on Sundays. Today we had our meeting online. It’s not the same, certainly, but it’s not nothing. I think it’s important to not think of these sorts of meetings as lesser versions of physical socializing, but really just as something different (in the same way that vegan ice cream is a perfectly good dessert, as long as you’re not comparing it to dairy ice cream).

As someone on Twitter mentioned, it might be better to think of these measures as physical distancing, not social distancing. We can be as social as we like, just not in person. Personally, I find that heartening.

Tomorrow is Monday, and I would normally be going in to campus for a full day’s work. I will not be going in to work, but I will be working. I managed to do a good job of staying off social media today and avoiding too much doom and gloom. I’m hoping to do the same tomorrow, and of course y’all will be along for the ride. I’m also going to try to write these posts a little earlier each day so that those of you in the US can read them before going to bed.

Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay sane, and take care of each other. (And please don’t go outside.)

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