One, two

The first 24 hours of sheltering is place is nearly through, and to be honest, it hasn’t been too wildly divergent from what a normal day at home might be for me. When I’m traveling every week for work I’m usually home on Monday and Tuesday before heading out again, and I generally use the time to learn new music, take care of the administrative stuff (emails, contract approval), do laundry, go for a run. Which is basically what I did today.

For others, though, I imagine that transitioning from a physical workplace, with its built-in social interaction, to a solitary day of emails and conference calls from the kitchen table is disconcerting. Telecommuting may be common in other industries, but in the music industry, even the administrative part, it’s a bit of a new world. Friends in arts organizations across the country are recounting their discomfiture at the new normal as they try to negotiate this new model in a business that relies on interpersonal and in-person connection.

Pinkerton prefers in-person meetings

But here in San Francisco, the challenges of telecommuting have been further exacerbated by the fact that we can’t meet up with people at all, never mind at work. There are no happy hours, or lunches, or yoga dates, or running clubs, or religious services, no opportunity to interact with others face to face. For those of us who live with spouses/kids/families, we have at least some built in human time (although I imagine we’ll eventually start looking forward to spending some time apart!) For those living alone, however, the next 3 weeks looks pretty bleak.

It feels to me that, in this case, “one” and “two” don’t operate by the normal rules of mathematics; instead it feels a bit more binary – either you’re alone (1) or not alone (2+) (does that make sense at all? Sometimes my brain works in strange ways…) And I worry about my friends who live alone, who depend on their interactions with friends to fill that need for human contact.

The shelter in place order indicates that while people cannot gather for any reason, they can be outdoors for exercise, as long as they stay 6 feet apart. And so I invited a friend on her own to take a long walk with me through a park with me this afternoon, 6 feet apart. It felt a little strange, for sure, but the distance protects us and those around us, so we ambled, 2 yards apart, chatting, a respite from loneliness.

One can’t overstate the importance of social distancing in the current environment. But that makes finding ways to take care of each other within those constraints even more important. Humans are social creatures and not meant to live isolation; we thrive in each other’s company and we need to feel connected. So my question for today is:

What makes you feel connected to others? Does is require proximity, or touch, or just the knowledge that someone cares about you?

My task for the day: help someone feeling overwhelmed by our new normal feel less alone (done!).

Hoping that all of you are feeling connected. And know that as long as we are living through these challenging times together, you are not alone.

(PS I didn’t end up having that midnight champagne. I lay in bed eating peanut M&Ms instead. Hey, whatever makes you happy, right?)

5 thoughts on “One, two

  1. Jeff P Walkowski says:

    Fortunately for us in Minneapolis, the past couple of days have been like April-May (weather-wise), so it’s been perfect for being outside. I’ve never seen so many dogs being walked along with their families (together … not just the mom or dad). And yesterday afternoon I encountered five groups of neighbors (mostly couples, but some trios and even larger groups, too) in the single hour that I was out. (P.S. One of the couples … and their dogs … that I met on the walk were the people who bought your Twin Cities home … hadn’t seen them in well over a year.) Altogether, it was about 15 people that I know who I saw. It did a really good job of making me appreciate the community I live in.

    I picked up a tip from one of the passers-by couples. This can work for single people or couples. They arranged for a virtual double-date for dinner. Each couple used Facetime (or whatever) on an iPad (larger screen), and each couple in their respective homes poured cocktails and prepared dinner. When it came time to sit down, each couple sat beside each other on one side of the table so that with the iPad opposite them, it’s as if they were dining together. They remarked that even though they weren’t physically in each others’ presence, it worked really well. They must’ve chatted for at least an hour or two. We’re gonna need to try that!

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  2. Today you asked an interesting question, “What makes you feel connected?” For me, true friendship and great relationships require great communication; and both parties must learn the art of listening. Listening is the key to learning and maintaining and making new friends. I feel that most marriages fail from a lack of communication. A great sense of humor and trust is so important in a relationship.

    I find Facebook is so shallow and disconnected where likes are interpreted as listening. There are so much hyperbole, validation, and falsehoods. Friends should be honest and feel free to discuss embarrassment, failure, challenges, and achievements and have an open relationship to agree to disagree.

    Being so interested in music, I search for those who can share their stories in their bios. I have found yours so interesting and would like to share some things about my life, family and my bio. We all have stories to tell and the best friend is one who listens and shares their life with those of mutual interest…

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  3. “What makes you feel connected to others? Does is require proximity, or touch, or just the knowledge that someone cares about you?”
    -> Altruism with persons that I love & respect. That concept doesn’t always require proximity, touch or the knowledge that someone cares about you. I give without expecting anything back. The universe gives it back to you (from that person or indirectly from other(s) when you expect it the least. It’s the Best gift to receive.
    Take Care & stay Safe, Maestra!

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