I found myself thinking about the long-term affects of the Coronavirus pandemic. My mind wandered back to a classic sci-fi film from the 1930s called “Thins To Come”, a British film about how a tragedy causes both pain and progress.
What will the long-term affects of social distancing be? This is a question that we will all have to consider and answer, both for ourselves and society, in the near future. Will we attempt to return to the same environment that existed immediately before the pandemic struck?
I suspect that our behavior will modify itself quite visibly. I can easily see the adoption of wearing fade masks as a widespread result of this pandemic. I remember seeing pictures of people from Japan wearing face masks in years past, and thinking that it must be something in their culture that made wearing masks acceptable. The people seemed so crowded together that common sense would dictate a measure of self-isolation, even as small as wearing a mask.
I remember reading that the Japanese were also averse to body contact with strangers. The story I remember was about the common practice of handing someone a business card. In America, we just pull the card from our wallet and hand it to another person. The story I read stated quite clearly that in Japan, the proper way to give a business card was to remove it from a wallet or more preferably a card case, and then set it on a table in front of the person and then withdraw your hand.
I suppose that theoretically this practice allowed the card to lose some of your “essence” so it would be cleaner when the recipient chose to pick it up. A small act of social distancing that I can see happening here, even though it will seem rude at first to ask the person to place their card on the table so we can then pick it up ourself.
Handshakes will probably become less common in the future because it will produce the impression that the instigator if the handshake attempt isn’t that concerned with my health, or their own. I don’t see the elbow bump being the answer. Personally, I prefer the simple Vulcan hand gestures from Star Trek.
I find it virtually impossible to imagine going to dinner in a crowded restaurant, or sitting in a movie theater full of strangers after this pandemic ends. I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but these things will affect my own personal behavior going forward.
The latest concern is for our food supplies. I believe that everyone will demand more stringent inspections and much better working conditions in our food preparation facilities. A food shortage will definitely cause long-lasting social effects on society. Will we consume less meat in the future? I can very easily see a short-term decrease in meat consumption as a result of both shortages and the apparent lack of quality control and concern for the workers in those facilities.
On the “bright” side, I see more people working remotely in the future as well as less crowded commutes for those who must return to traditional workplaces and offices. Technology will continue to allow for more virtual meetings and less business travel. Again, some of these changes will be gradual, but they will happen more quickly due to the pandemic.
What are some of the things I have overlooked?
Be Kind to one another