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April 8, 2020

It's Not The Human, It's The Virus

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In the face of everything that has happened with the Coronavirus pandemic so much has changed, and even things that didn’t have to.

I have to be honest, I’ve spent some time outside walking, going for a run, and grabbing something out of my car. But, it’s important to get some exercise and stimulation. Of course, I’ve been practicing social distancing. I’m trying to be as responsible about this as anyone else, but this is what I noticed. 

When going for a walk or a run, and there’s someone on the same sidewalk as you, it has been courtesy that one of you steps into the street or some place to create distance. Have you noticed anything about that interaction? I’ve found it has been as though you are trying to avoid the other person.

It’s not the human we’re told to avoid, it’s the virus!

I understand physically avoiding them, that’s the point, but how about even acknowledging they are there? It seems to me like there’s almost an embarrassment to even have to do it, like our distancing is saying something negative about what we think about them, and we don’t even look up to make eye contact to avoid that awkward moment.

But again, it’s not the human that we’re avoiding, there’s nothing wrong with the human. It’s the virus! We’re all on the same page with the same concerns, which means there’s a mutual understanding about it in this potentially awkward exchange.

Given our lack of face to face social interaction, we need those passing moments more than ever! In the last SISD, Radha Agrawal talked about how mental health issues could potentially claim more lives than the virus this season. We’re perpetuating that problem by projecting the concerns we have about catching the virus ontoother people.

So, I challenge you to help change that culture. While walking, say hi, give a smile, and be present for the other human that is there. Because you never know who it is, and how much they might need your acknowledgement.

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