I am happy that officials are starting to use the term “physical distancing” to tame the COVID-19 pandemic. “Social distancing” was a misnomer from the start.
Social closeness has never been more important to me. Two people with whom I connect by text and phone more often than usual these days amused me recently. With their blessing, I pass along their levity.
Well over a year ago, I started to text with my friend and neighbour, whom I’ll call Debbie, every morning by 8:00 a.m. In the remote chance that either of us has fallen or expired during the night, we know that the other will investigate our lack of response and get the right people on the job. So far, one of us has remembered to start the interchange on time virtually every morning. The texts often led to spontaneous decisions to meet for a walk or coffee later in the day in the pre-COVID-19 world.
Recently, I woke about around 7:15 a.m. – too early to text Debbie. I started scrolling through my phone to see the latest developments around the only subject there’s any news about these days. Before I knew it, 8:00 a.m. had come and gone.
“Got distracted scrolling. How are you this morning?” I keyed in at 8:10.
“Infected by the scrolling virus, too!! Other than that, I’m fine,” she responded a minute later.
Debbie gets it.
Meanwhile, my vigorous attempts to stay safe continue unabated. My hands have never been cleaner. I’m tired of “Happy Birthday” as a handwashing song.
Man, if I get COVID-19, it will be a phenomenon akin to the virgin birth. When I shared that thought in separate phone conversations with Debbie, my sister, and another friend, each of them roared.
I tried it on my son. Silence at the other end.
“Are you there?”
I quietly wondered if I had offended his virgin ears.
“Mom, I think it needs a little work.”
The next morning, the following text from him arrived:
“For your joke, I wonder if you could describe it as an “immaculate infection”.
I wonder if he’s missed his calling in standup comedy.