It’s been almost a month since I’ve been at the office. As it happens, my lunch gang all live near me and today we meet for lunch outdoors.
It’s one of those classic April days: Still winter in the shade, darned near full summer in the sunshine. A day that’s hard to dress right for. A fat bumblebee comes closer than the social distance minimum of one meter for a brief moment, and zigzags onward. Rosehip bushes have leaves so new they are nearly neon green.
We walk single file, a meter apart if someone is approaching in the opposite direction, else one will move abreast while keeping her distance so we can talk. After our walk around the local pond—paused at times because one of us will meet an old neighbor and catch up while we keep our distance—we find a few picnic tables, happily unoccupied as if waiting for us.
We pull out our lunches, sitting one meter apart, and talk as well as we can across the distance between the five of us. One has made hot cocoa for the whole group. Our faces are warm in the sun, our ungloved hands cold in the wind.
We manage to not touch anything that isn’t our own item, coronavirus deciding so much of our behavior now. We talk about missed hair appointments, finding amusement in that first world problem, and missed hugs with the grandkids, finding a pang of heartache.
Generally, we feel pretty good. Working from home is not ideal since we lack the proper ergonomics, but we are—still—doing fine. It’s been only a month, though. We have yet to see how things will feel come May.
We are all grateful for seeing and hearing each other in person. For conversation without lag or glitches. For arms spread out for distance-hugging rather than cyber-hugging. One meter apart feels so good.