We need not ‘social distancing,’ but ‘physical distancing’

DUMMERSTON — The term “social distancing” just never sat right with me. Words matter, and it seems like this way of naming how we must behave might make things even worse.

What we need and what is required is not “social distancing” but “physical distancing.” That what we need to fear and repel is the virus, not the people who may be its involuntary host.

Our society is already in a socially distant mode and the last thing we need is to deepen that divide. We can keep our 6-foot distance when we are out and about and still be friendly and kind. If we are masked, we can smile with our eyes and give a muffled greeting.

We can wave from our porches. We can honk our horns. We can thank everyone who is still out there keeping things going.

We can be grateful that we are in such a beautiful place where we can take walks outside and see the trees budding and the flowers coming up and the birds singing.

At home, we can get in contact with old friends we haven't spoken to in years. We can look at old photos and tell our kids about ourselves. Have a Zoom birthday party. Check on our neighbors. Even join Facebook!

If anything, this should be a time to get closer - from 6 feet away, of course!

So let's change the terminology - maybe change how we think about this very peculiar time so that when we come out on the other side of this we will be closer than we were before.

Best to you all.

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