By Troy Headrick
I’m taking a break from my series on “places that made me,” to share a couple of interesting observations, an article, and some questions.
If you are a regular reader of my posts, you know that I manage a writing center in a college and am currently working remotely as are those tutors who work with me. Not long ago, during a Zoom meeting—is there any other way to meet these days?—one of my part-time tutors, a brilliant retiree who worked for many years in education, confessed that she’s starting to act “weird” around people. When I asked her what she meant, she says she looks at them out of the corner of her eye now, when she’s in a public place and wearing a mask, almost as if she feels like those around her can no longer be trusted.
Her confession made me start paying attention to my own behavior. Lately, I’ve noticed that when we’re outside exercising—my wife and I like to go on longs walks or ride our bikes—we will purposely go out of our way to avoid coming close to people even though we maintain a safe distance and all that. And we’ve also noticed other people acting the same way when they encounter us.
I’m already a bit of an anti-social weirdo, but I’m beginning to wonder if this pandemic is going to have long-term effects on how I (and we) interact with others. While wondering about all this, I ran across this article.
Have you noticed any changes in the way you’re interacting with or thinking about people during this period of global illness? What do you think about the thoughts raised in the article? I’d like to hear about your experiences. I’m deeply interested in what’s happening out there.