Social Distance and the Feels (not a band name, but it should be)
Stay home, keep 1.5 metres from people of you do go out, avoid public transport if you can, try to work from home…
It’s a weird time full of fear and anxiety and FEELINGS and also BOREDOM. Are you feeling that way? I’m gonna go through some of my feelings, particularly about social distance and what we should do. It might help me sort them out. It might help you sort yours out. Or maybe you’ll offer me some brilliant insight in the comments. Or I will shed some light for you, who knows? I’m just gonna tip my brain contents out on the table and sort into piles, so to speak.
I am so grateful to have a job. Friends have lost work left, right and centre. Others are trying to figure out how to do their work from home. I have my work, it’s not going anywhere but it cannot be done from home. So, I am torn between gratitude for a stable income and gnawing anxiety that I have to keep physically going to work. My hours are long and I usually have a minimum of two hours train travel each day, but this week, it’s going to change to two hours driving, I think. The crowds on the trains have become smaller, but it’s not possible to ensure that the requisite social distance of 1.5 metres exists between passengers. And that’s even less practical at work.
We made the decision to stop the kids going to school last Monday, just before the Premier announced that schools were remaining open, but it’d be totes better if you didn’t send your kids. For the past week, the 17 year old has supervised the 7 year old in getting stuff done. While I’ve been wracked with guilt for not being home to supervise.
Luckily, this week, my man starts working from home for 4 days a week. So he will be here to supervise, while trying to do his job online. I’m not sure what that’s gonna look like. But hopefully it means the year 12 student is learning online when she’s meant to be and the year 2 student can do her work sheets etc before hitting YouTube to watch unboxing videos or watching that animated sausage cartoon on Netflix.
I unthinkingly tried to buy two tins of corn kernels and two of lentils. I didn’t realise I was only allowed two cans in total. I felt like a total asshole, especially when I had done the same with frozen veg, not realising I could only have two packets and that potato gems counted as one. I apologised to the woolies lady and she said it was okay but I still felt like a jerk. I must have misread the little signs.
I also noticed that the lady behind us didn’t adhere to the social distance floor markings indicating where to stand, and was allowed to do so without comment. I figured the woolies lady didn’t want the conflict. Fair enough, I guess.
I am definitely noticing prices going up, though. Being a frequent train traveller, I always carry hand sanitiser. Gotta say, buying a small bottle of alcohol based spray for $20 because it’s all I could get made me furious. And seeing companies who normally sell clothes or appliances jump on board the sanitiser selling train at exorbitant prices? Yeah, not fucking cool. My memory is long, you guys.
I saw this meme and… ha. Just as I typed that, I realised it’s been the way many conversations have started recently. Being someone who still goes to work, I still have those. And we all agree, the memes have been golden. Anyhow, this one really hit close to home:
Even those of us who normally cope just fine are not coping all that well. I have reached out to a couple of friends about feeling this way, which helped immensely, but I know I have to keep an eye on it, too. If you’re feeling this way, please, do the same. Hit up a helpline or your GP if you’re finding yourself not able to function normally.
Hug your pet, if you have one. My friend told me it sounded silly but it did help. He was wrong and he was right. It didn’t sound silly and it definitely helped. Sometimes, I just gotta hug my dog. He’s very good about it and will often present for hugs and pats and snuggles out of the blue. No pet? No worries. Loads of places are looking for foster carers at the moment and it could be just the thing for you! I recommend Greyhound Rescue NSW because they’re the bomb but there are plenty of other shelters out there if giant, snooty couch potatoes aren’t practical for you.
Strange and senseless frustration
I walked past the pub near work the other day and read the “closed for now” sign. I was immediately frustrated that I couldn’t go in for a quick drink before heading home- mind you, this is something I absolutely never do. The lack of the option bothered me. I have FaceTimed with my friends, a couple of times, and it was nice but I really wanted to be sitting around a table, laughing in person. I wanted to wander the shops or go to the movies (another rarity) or eat lunch at a cafe. And I felt irritated that I couldn’t, even though I likely wouldn’t anyway?!
I know how senseless all of that is and all I can put it down to is fear. I completely understand the social distance thing. The need to stay home and away from others. I know I can’t just pop to dad’s for lunch or visit with my besties so the kids can play and we can get tipsy and talk shit. I understand why.
But I guess fear makes us resentful? I’ve been in a funk most of the weekend, when I stop to think about it. I guess that’s why people are still visiting relatives and having sneaky barbecues. It’s not all ignorance. Its being scared and feeling like you want to take back a bit of control of your life. That said, fucking stop it if this is what you’re doing. Don’t risk yourselves or your mates. It’s not worth it.
Social distance is probably the wrong term for what we re all trying to do. We actually need social connection more than ever. As a whole, we are likely to be scared and anxious (ok, I am scared and anxious) and need each other. We need goofy conversations and silly memes and to reassure each other. Yes, we need physical distance, for sure, whether you’re staying home to help flatten the curve or you’re in actual isolation. But socially? Nah. I don’t know about you all, but I need social contact. Especially in the absence of physical proximity (spare a thought for us huggers, we are struggling a bit!)
I guess what I’m saying is, keep talking to each other. We need to keep our literal distance but we still need to interact. To talk and laugh and be understood. I think that’s how we can get each other through this.