Should I stay or should I go?
The last few weeks have been a time of re-firsts. Formerly everyday things which had ceased to be a routine, due to one form of lockdown or another, were reluctantly attempted again.
As June kicked off, I decided to adjust some corona-time personal restraints and after some mild persuasion, agreed to play some tennis (a pioneer social distancing sport). A week later and after some more persuasion, I finally headed out to a park with a few friends. But an uneasiness still lingers and the recent crowding up (of which I am but a part) only makes me rethink each choice.
I would say I’m in a bit of luck, ironically, because of my flights back home getting cancelled. A member of my family is immune-compromised and frankly, it’s no time to visit a place where the numbers are rising steadily. The vast distance perhaps makes up for more than an excuse right now. The slight helplessness is a consolation while we hope for better days ahead. So, I feel sympathetic for those separated despite shorter distances, a longing only made worse by the approaching summer.
But in my limited view, informed by the same overload of opinions as everyone else, it’s still too soon to ease the reins. Reports of sudden clusters have started to pop up as lockdowns are being relaxed, becoming unbearable or outright bungled. And as alarmist as it may sound, there’s no dearth of evidence that so far, a great degree of caution is what has worked while being cavalier has achieved just the opposite.
We’ve gotten this far, in the Netherlands and specifically at the university, through not just social distancing, but a sustained effort at it. There were growing pains, of course, but we learned quickly. Losing our minds to hoard flour and toilet-paper eased into a more reasoned version of a lockdown. Similarly, awkwardly making space for each other in the corridors was soon followed by a more practical version of social distancing at the workplace. And now that a significant proportion of public places are (limitedly) open again, I hope we whish past the wild west situation that I hear is commonplace and mellow into a considerate, socially distant mode, for it must hold at least through the (very socially tempting) summer for it to be any meaningful.
And perhaps eventually in hindsight, it may all seem for nothing, but that’s the thing about hindsight, sometimes it’s not even twenty-twenty.