Short Story: In Love With Social Distancing

Posted: April 10, 2020 in Love, Short Story, WPrightnow
Tags: ,

Social Distancing. Pix from the internet.

He badly needed a haircut. He hadn’t been to the gym for a month now. In his profession work from home was not possible. He was tired of mopping the floor and doing the dishes. He thought Covid 19 was a ploy to keep people at home and there was something more to this.

“What do you think it is Meera?” He asked in a huff.

“Surveillence? Are we going to have George Orwell’s 1984 now? Or is it an online experiment? To see how the world can function through the net? Do you think 5G will be introduced soon? Or is it a reboot of the environment? Or was the economic collapse coming anyway and now Covid 19 will be blamed?”

He was almost out of breath.

Meera listened to her man’s rant. It happened every day – morning, evening, night – over the phone. No matter what he said he was never in a hurry to hang up, like before. Meera savoured that. He was serious, frustrated, angry about being locked down at home for 18 days and she was smiling. She thanked her lucky stars they weren’t on video chat. Otherwise her smile would have amplified his anger.

While he was upset, she had found peace. The lockdown had changed her from inside. The ever anxious, watchful girlfriend had suddenly become calm, chilled out. Like every other relationship, hers wasn’t perfect. But she sometimes felt they fought more often than they spoke sweet nothings. They were always at loggerheads because love had a strange way of bringing polar opposites together.

She was a college lecturer, bordering on the introvert, had few friends and her weekends meant staying home, reading or meeting her boyfriend for a movie or dinner. He was a dashing corporate climber for whom networking meant everything. He could be doing that at corporate parties, at the clubs or at the nightclubs he frequented with his gang of friends on weekends.

She was always telling him to slow down. She found his extraneous social interactions loathsome.

Two people greeting with a hug. Pix taken from the internet.

 

And those “hugs?” Uggh!

“Hello hug” he called them but she hated those women coming so close to greet him every time. They had so many fights over it. He found it preposterous that she felt so strongly about just a “greeting hug” and she felt it was ridiculous that intrusion into personal space was called a greeting. A handshake was good enough, why was there the need for a hug?

The world would follow the namaskar now. Meera thought. The Indian namaskar, her beloved namaskar.  Prince Charles had already started. Not long before India would follow.

“You are right if we go by what Yuval Noah Harari is saying, then we might be stepping into a lifetime of surveillance because we care for our health. Our health would be tracked along with our movements to keep the population safe,” she finally said, realizing it had been a one-sided rant so far.

The world might come under surveillance now, but her surveillance on him would end. Those anxious thoughts of women hugging, women getting too close to her beloved, would finally rest in peace.

Social distancing gave her what three years of arguments could not achieve. The pandemic would end, but the fear of the virus would remain. People wouldn’t probably shake hands anymore, let alone greet with a hug.

Silently in her mind she said, “Thank you social distancing, please always stay.”

*

 

Another short story I wrote about life in lockdown:

The Maid’s Home

 

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