I’m something of a social animal and I prefer to speak to actual flesh-and-blood people.
Way back when the world was as normal as we can expect it to be, I had coffee every morning with my friends, who happen to be mostly other community activists such as politicians, committee people and volunteers. If you walked along Front Street on weekday mornings, you may have seen us sitting in front of the window at Biscotti Café. It was a great way to unwind and a chance to talk about stuff happening anywhere without regard to procedures or order.
You may have noticed a reply to one of the group, who mostly misses unloading with his morning rants, an entertaining feature of most mornings. The day just doesn’t seem right without an outburst of annoyance from him.
Alas, those days are over, for the time being at least. Physical distancing (I wish they’d stop changing terminology all the time) and government business closures have put an end to that, and rightly so, but they can be rather lonely. Of course, other than the pandemic, there isn’t a lot to talk about because nothing’s happening, no one’s meeting and who wants to talk about body counts all the time.
I still manage to get my face time however, all be it at something of a distance. Walking has always been my connection to sanity, as much as some might disagree. Health officials say, so far at least, that walking is a good thing, both physically and mentally. And this opens up opportunities to talk to people; all right, shout at people, sometimes from two or three metres or further away. There’s nothing like an intimate conversation with someone on their porch while I stand on the sidewalk.
The other day, chanced upon Pastor Ken MacQuarrie, soon-to-be ex-minister at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, I on one side of Clairmont and he on the other. I’ve known Ken from common causes since he’s been here and, across three traffic lanes, we had a good chat for some minutes. Well, chat maybe isn’t the right word. Suffice it to say that it’s a good thing that we both have strong voices (or, has been said of me from time to time, a big mouth). For some reason, the traffic doesn’t stop to let people talk.
If you do go for a walk, let’s not all go at once although, so far anyways, there hasn’t been a sign that there’s any danger of that happening. Keep your distance and don’t take it personally if some don’t want to talk. Some seem to worry that talking will bridge physical distance. Some people just may not like you. Who knows?
Maybe you’ll see me along the way. Just remember to keep your distance, for all our sakes.
And happy COVID-19-style socializing.