What Social Distancing Feels Like When You’re A Socially Distant Person Anyway

“Man, this pandemic is making us all crazy.” A friend of mine remarked as we caught up one evening and talked about all the crazy things going viral around the world.

I head over to Instagram and saw people posting stories of shaving heads, making finger-dance videos, videos of workouts using bricks and buckets, group video chat screenshots, and memories of trips they had taken a few months ago with taglines like “Reminiscing the good ol’ days”. 

People did seem to be going a little crazy. This whole social distancing thing has been hard on many. I’ve been a social distance-r way before this became the norm. With a full-time work-at-home job that takes up 6 days a week and close to zero reasons to step out of the house, this whole thing has been a piece of cake for me. Being a pro at this social distancing thing since forever, this quarantine couldn’t have changed my life any lesser. 

Staying at home. – Always
Avoiding people. – With pleasure.
Not touching anyone. – Can that be made a law?

Since the last time I hung out with my friends was probably 2014, there was no question of missing my friends. We “see” each other once in a while online and nothing’s changed that. In fact, the only people I really truly missed seeing during this period are the Swiggy guy and the Amazon guy, my true best friends. As for spending time with a supremely bored 5-year old, I’ve eventually learned to tune out the “Amma, I’m bored” 6 million times a day and think of it as background music for my daily routine. With zero visitors coming over, I can lounge around in my rattiest clothes without having to frantically run to change every time the doorbell rings.  Mother Nature has even made it even easier for us here in Kerala by turning up the temperature making it too ridiculously hot to ever want to step out of the house. With only the essentials available, I’ve also saved some money this month since I have no option to spend it on useless crap as always. 

And what more, my parents have discovered the joys of binge-watching. It’s so heart-warming to see them indulge in an activity that I regularly partake in.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to diminish the gravity of the situation and undermine anyone’s situation. I can understand how social distancing can affect people’s work and businesses. And I truly feel for those without a home or stuck far from home, away from their families. 

But as for the others, how has staying at home ever been a bad thing?

It’s home. Imagine that in order to stop this virus, you had been asked to go stay in a detention centre or some war zone or in the middle of a pile of trash. It’s just home. Home is good, remember? When you’re stuck in traffic on the way back from work, what are you thinking? I can’t wait to get home! People need to realize that chilling at home once in a while is not going to kill them (literally).

As an ardent lover of staying home, I am even a little bit offended that so many of you guys don’t appreciate it. How would you like if I came to your favourite restaurant or holiday place and made stories about how much I hate it and how utterly bored I am?

And also, imagine if this virus had struck a few decades ago? We’re all constantly talking about how “awesome” the 90s were but do you think you would’ve survived a day with absolutely no social media, no video chats, no Netflix, no Whatsapp (the lack of Whatsapp forwards would only be a blessing though), no podcasts, no ebooks to download, no PUBg and no friggin’ Youtube. While your parents hog the TV to watch Mahabharatham, and you have to wait till evening for Chithrahar to start, how would you have kept yourself from fully losing it? This article would be written hastily on the back of some old diary and not out here for you all to glimpse through while you pretend to be working from home.

With the Internet and everything, no one can truly ever be alone nowadays, can they? In fact, ever since this quarantine started, I’ve spoken to more people than I have before. I’ve reconnected with so many people I hadn’t spoken to in ages, have been invited to boredom-based Whatsapp groups, played remote games with people and even made a few new friends. And here I was thinking, this whole thing would make no difference to my life. Who knew it would take social distancing to finally get me to be more social! It feels like all these extroverts have entered my territory and come to hang out with me in my happy place.

I feel like Earth was indignantly witnessing all the ongoing madness happening since the beginning of the year and decided “That’s it, you fools. Go to your rooms right now and think about your stupid actions!”

I know this period has been tough on a lot of people. And I, like you, pray that this pandemic comes to an end soon. But until then, I’m going to hold on to this feeling… of slower days, cleaner skies and all of us all being on the same side. I understand this is tough on most of you guys, and I’m not going to get clichéd and tell you to use your time productively because God knows I’m not. But maybe do something you would not have thought of doing in between your work schedule. Get your folks off the news channels and introduce them to Netflix too. Go stare at a tree from your window. Make up a mad song. Give yourself a pedicure. Go DM that boy/girl you’ve always wanted to talk to, God knows, it might just end up changing your life!

I don’t foresee many other scenarios where the Universe gives you a chance to save the world by simply staying at home and chilling. So make the most of it!


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