Getting Closer? Yes And No

Man, in the early days of coronavirus I wouldn’t have guessed that this microbial demon would find its way into as many of my essays as it has. Its omnipresence and dangers, though, have made it impossible for me to ignore, in my everyday life and as a writer. Alas, truer words than these rarely have been spoken: We need an effective vaccine sooner than ASAP!

It’s anything but new news when I observe that in a mere handful of months the virus has impaired our world in oh so many ways. Hundreds of thousands of people have died at the villain’s hands, and that count will rise and rise. Livelihoods have disappeared. Economies have been derailed. And that which is normal behavior for most of us — having a fair amount of close contact with fellow members of our embattled species — has become, for the most part, a big no-no. We can, of course, be physically near to those who we are confident are non-contagious, assuming that we are confident that we meet that criterion too. But to anyone else? Yo, it’s risky!

It’s natural to wonder about the extent to which close contact will return after our savior, a good vaccine, rides in from whatever lab ends up creating it. That’s assuming the savior is creatable. It better be. Anyway, will the general populace go back to their merry old ways? You know, crowding into elevators, sharing joints, rocking out shoulder-to-shoulder at concerts, spilling their guts to friends seated near them at bars and cafés, etc., etc. (As we know, some people, against expert advice and governmental guidelines, are doing these sorts of things already. Spikes in coronavirus have resulted. Those folks just don’t want to keep their distance from one another!)

I’m betting that a full return never will happen. Maybe we’ll level off at about 75% of where we were, but no more than that. I mean, coronavirus has brought home the fact that microbes don’t always play nice, that unfriendly bacteria and viruses could be anywhere, and that cutting back a little on your potential contact with same might be a wise way to live your life.

For example, as many already have noted, the handshake has an uncertain future. Shit, that’s no big deal. To a decent extent, pre-virus, handshakes already had been replaced by fist bumps, elbow taps and other far-less-germy forms of greeting. I’m cool with that. But some also are predicting that hugs won’t be as common as once they were. Hugs? That is a big deal, and I’m not cool with it. Me, once the pandemic is no more, I’m going to give a nice big hug, if they want me to, to every pal and relative that I get together with. That will be a damn good way to celebrate the nightmare’s demise.

Well, like all good boys and girls, I’ve been trying to keep at least six feet away from nearly all homo sapiens. (The one exception to this regimen is, of course, my wife Sandy.) Doing so is frustrating, for sure. So, when the idea hit me the other day to get real, real close to something — in this case, certain inhabitants of the non-human sphere — I jumped at it.

Thus, a couple of days later, while walking around my neighborhood in the Philadelphia suburbs, I gave flora, stone walls, traffic sign posts and other objects a good looking over from way within spitting distance. Then I snapped their portraits, some of which are plastered on this page. Photographically-speaking, I dug the close-up approach and probably will venture out on a similar mission in the foreseeable future.

But, during the trek and after, I couldn’t stop thinking about human physical closeness, and decided that it would be appropriate to illustrate this story with songs that touch upon aspects of that wide subject. No doubt there are thousands and thousands that fit the bill. I’m going to go with two that popped into my head pretty much right off the bat. These great recordings, which more or less represent opposite sides of the closeness coin, remind me, as if I need any reminding, that I’m anxious for the day when once again I’ll be able to talk with people from a normal distance. And to pass within a whisker or two of strangers on the sidewalk as I nonchalantly walk from here to there. I present to you, then, The Temptations singing I Can’t Get Next To You, and Ol’ Blue Eyes’ heart-melting rendition of The Nearness Of You.

Till next time, gals and guys. Stay safe, as the saying goes. And, by the way, please don’t be shy about adding your comments.

 

127 thoughts on “Getting Closer? Yes And No

  1. Platypus Man July 22, 2020 / 9:57 am

    Two highly appropriate songs. Great to hear the Temptations again. Not familiar with the Sinatra song, but he sounds as silky smooth as ever. Here’s hoping nearness is allowed again before too long…the socially distanced world may be safe(r), but it isn’t comfortable. I need a haircut, and we all need a vaccine!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. viewfromoverthehill July 22, 2020 / 7:47 pm

    Gosh, I, too, am tired of this COVID:19. It’s impossible to forget about it. Everything we do is related to it. Take good care of you and your Sandy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Librarylady July 26, 2020 / 6:14 pm

    What’s surprised me about all this is realizing how social we all were. Almost everything we used to do involved lots of people. The theatre, school, the gym, family reunions, work etc. It’s hard to believe something so small could have scattered us so quickly. I miss my carpool, my ladies who lunch, card parties, weddings . . .
    I agree with you. I think we may get back to about 75%, but never the way things were.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 26, 2020 / 11:16 pm

      This pandemic is causing us to improvise and adapt. And to lower our expectations, because so much that we took for granted has been reduced. We need an effective vaccine ASAP.

      Like

  4. rkrontheroad July 28, 2020 / 2:36 pm

    I love your metaphor of close-in photography with the closeness we all miss. We are all weighing in on the effects of the pandemic on our lives. (Mine was “I miss hugs”.) And here’s another song for your list: Nat King Cole’s Don’t Get Around Much Anymore https://youtu.be/qpAFCPhAhmg

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Imelda July 29, 2020 / 11:23 pm

    In one fell swoop, the virus changed our way of life and the way we relate to the rest of the world. Even when it is eradicated, hopefully, we can not go back to the way life used to be. There will be that part of our brains worrying about another contagion like corona. But even then, it will be good to have some semblance of the old normal when we can socialize without worry and without guilt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 30, 2020 / 7:19 am

      Hi. The economic impact already has been enormous. Some segments of nations’ economies never will recover fully. It’s tragic.

      Like

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