This “social distancing” (SD) thing is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, right up there in company with toilet paper and chocolate covered oreos and paper books.
Don’t be fooled though, it is not a new thing anymore than country music was when Waylon and Willie and Hank Jr. made it cool in the 80’s. Remember Barbara Mandrell? “I was country when country wasn’t cool?” Well, I was SD when SD wasn’t cool.
As a matter of fact, I come from a long line of SDers. My parents are/were social distancers. On the Hogue side of the family this art goes back for generations, like the Samurai, only not. My granddad Herman lived by himself in a mobile home in Mount Vernon, AR. His pigs and chicken and whiskey kept him comfortable. We visited him sometimes, once or twice a year, for an hour or so. He would put out some Little Debbie’s cakes for us, as an act of hospitality. In his earlier days, before he really became a Jedi of SD, he lived in a cabin and would stoke up the wood burning stove in the living room and would provide a plate of fresh, warm squirrel for us when we came. My grandmother Ardella Hogue became a master upon realizing that being married to granddad violated the code. After their divorce, she would give her Holiday greetings by peering through a crack in the curtains of her house, at us in the driveway on Christmas day. Her skills were incomprehensible to us at the time, but I’ve learned a lot since. I don’t know anyone further back in the family than that, probably because of their skill level.
I was always advised by the elders not to publicize the ways of our Order unless absolutely necessary due to a global incident. Obviously, that time has come. If I am mistaken, I just hope my ancestors will forgive me.
Some of the earliest lessons I learned as a novice SDer are as follows:
a. Avoid public gatherings except for the absolute best, most worthy causes. Highly publicized gatherings are easy to avoid, but those without public warnings (“invitations” for the non-SDer) can be discovered before stepping in by listening carefully. You can usually detect a crowd of socialites long before you reach them, by hearing the obnoxious noise pollution of laughing and cheering. Turn and leave as soon as this noise is perceived, or you will find yourself in an abysmal black hole with thousands of faceless voices all saying “Look who’s here,” or some other platitude meant to make people glance in your direction and feign gladness at your presence.
2. If you are absolutely required to attend a gathering (Translation: for Baptists – Fellowship, for Secularists – Party, for Business – Meeting) be quick to secure a role to keep you busy enough to avoid conversation and out of the way enough to avoid excess eye contact. Kitchen work is optimal but child care or clean-up or sound and lighting is effective as well. Being “part of the band” in any sense helps tremendously.
C. In the altogether regretful circumstance that you are forced to be in the same space and even interact with other humans, here are a few tips: I. Find someone (maybe an animal) who doesn’t speak your language and give them your undivided attention, making it clear to anyone else that they shouldn’t interrupt. B. Give short, one or two word responses to the barrage of questions or comments from the person in front of you, while giving clear non-verbal signals that someone across the room, or maybe outside the door is calling for you to help them. III. Throw up in your mouth a little (should be easy in this environment) and run to a bathroom with a window you can fit through, and then proceed accordingly.
I hope this helps you newbies. My concern is your health. You’re welcome.
Given a show of interest, an advanced course will be available soon. Online only.