I haven’t touched another human in close to three weeks. Technically, my physical therapist has touched me, but he wears gloves and mostly inflicts pain on my knotted leg muscles and tendons. I have not touched anyone in a way that conveys affection, friendship, or merely shared humanity.
I am, and have been for much of my life, comfortable with being single, solitary, and celibate. Right now, though, I sure envy couples their intimacy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine. I’m probably more suited to surviving this weird isolation and physical separation than most. I’m just saying that I miss the occasional hug, shaking hands when I meet someone or see a friend, huddling together in the cafe over coffee or a laptop, the ordinary, careless contacts which filled our lives until this pesky virus upended the world.
I’ve been reaching out to friends to make sure they are OK. I now, to my knowledge, have one friend who probably has the virus. He isn’t sick enough to get tested. Thanks to the travesty of a response from our incompetent leadership, there aren’t enough tests to go around. My fervent hope is that every one of those bastards who have been systematically dismantling our government and health care system will get infected with this virus. I don’t want them to die, but I want them to be terrified by the prospect that they might.
It is said that one needs 8 hugs a day for maintenance, 12 for growth. Who knows if those numbers are in any way scientific. I wonder, though, how this social distancing and lack of physical contact will work on the psyche of individuals, communities, nations, and the human race. Will it further exacerbate the divides already widening between us. or will it inspire us to find new ways to connect?
I suppose the choice is ours.