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... and another thing

  • Writer's pictureMirt Norgren

Is Social Distancing the New Normal?

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Has anyone else noticed that the technology that allows us to "communicate" remotely is slowly pulling us away from connecting face to face? With the development of each new app that replaces the need for human contact, we are consciously choosing online chats, social media and texting over the ancient art of real time conversations.

I for one have moved from speaking on the phone to emails to text messages. I am even horrified by the prospect of a FaceTime call invading the privacy of my self involved world, particularly on a day when I may be caught displaying a disturbing case of bed head and my bathrobe at 2 pm. Yes, that has been known to happen lately, but in all fairness it is a silk kimono not a bath robe, and besides where would I be going that requires a coif and a wardrobe change?

We all know that connecting remotely has slipped into a necessity rather than a convenience with the growing threat of COVID 19. Social distancing calls us to practice common sense and caution for now but it also presents some of us the opportunity to go in deep and indulge the relentless desire for self imposed apartness.

The fact that I am a Cancer and a loner by nature contributes to my natural tendency to want to isolate and enjoy solitary activities. I can't tell if social distancing is causing me to be prudent or if I am just secretly relieved to at last have permission be a homebody without the fear of judgement.

I will no doubt pick up a camera and venture out in the future to connect with new subjects as soon as it is safe to do so but in the mean time It's too dangerous for me to stay secluded. In an effort to stay connected I've elected to comb through the countless images I shot last year in hopes of igniting a spark of creativity and the desire for this project. This is an opportunity to to scan old negatives, reorganize thousands of photographs and explore the thoughts that may be triggered by the imagery of retrospection. It's a good time to write and let go of the inhibitions that have kept me tethered to the shore of safety by sailing directly into the treacherous waters of transparency and authenticity. This is THE time to risk it all and speak from the heart.

We will no doubt recover from COVID 19 and move back to our busy lives once the current health threat has been averted. The advent of social distancing will fade into the files of history and the memory of self-quarantine will become fodder for future memes, gifs and social media posts. BUT my hope is that we will not soon forget the eerie sense of disconnection that this enforced separation has imprinted on our psyches. My sincere wish is that we will use this bizarre and unprecedented time to recalibrate and to reconsider connection as a gift rather than a convenience.

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