Before our current fears over germs and spacing, coughing and handshaking, most of us still remember a time when we did things that now seem out of the ordinary.
Not just everyday things like greeting people with full-on embraces and bear hugs, but also the kinds of things that got us extra dirty. Fun things and not-so-fun things, but still, everyday things that over generations somehow haven’t brought the end to our civilization.
While we work to keep each other safe and take every precaution possible to be healthy, I hope we can go back to the time when everyday, not-so-clean, ordinary ways of living can be done again. I’m thinking of the kinds of little things that make life special which now have become worries even before the pandemic.
Things like people coming together for spur-of-the-moment potlucks. Tables being filled with favorite dishes. Hands grabbing chips. Spoons scooping casseroles. Glasses clinging against each other as cheers are shared. All of this happening as people laugh and focus on big things, celebratory things. No one focused on the tiny specks of the unwanted that cannot be seen.
In what seems like a distant memory, there was a time when it was O.K. to sit next to strangers in crowded buses and subways. I’d like to go back to that time. Those buses and those subways haven’t always been the shining examples of purity, and yet we still got on them and got off them without much of a concern.
We learn from each other, strangers and friends alike, when we are in close quarters. We experience how much we have in common, even though we come from different places, and we see how much we are the same. We hear different languages, see unfamiliar customs, appreciate each other a little more.
A lot of what we recognize from each other, over time, has come from being with each other, not from being separate. It has come from sharing customs and traditions that may not be considered practical in this current era.