Life
    Culture

    Word of the week: social distancing

    20 March 2020

    Definition

    The radical reduction of social interaction between people, in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Derivation

    The government has issued advice for people to work from home, avoid going to pubs and clubs and shun large family gatherings. For many, this is a radical change. For some, this is already a way of life. These are the people that we must learn from. Copying their behaviours is our route to survival.

    Young people, between the ages of puberty and adulthood, have pioneered social distancing from fellow family members for several years. Adolescents understand more than anyone else that meal-times provide the greatest risk of social interaction and they have perfected avoidance techniques. Breakfast is shunned by deploying the tactic of getting out of bed around 11am; lunch is avoided by going back to bed at mid-day and evening meals are evaded by simply ‘not being hungry’.

    Tech giants have predicted the crisis brought on by Covid-19 and have been philanthropically furnishing us with handheld social distancing tools such as the iPhone for a number of years. As companies adapt their supply chains to produce ventilators and hand sanitiser, the tech companies perform another vital public service in keeping the populace glued to our screens.

    The ‘odd bloke who works in accounts’ is another person from whom we can learn. He never attends drinks after work, he doesn’t accept your offer to join you for lunch and always has an excuse not to attend the annual Christmas party. He is an expert in avoiding social events with people that he does not know very well. Some people have put this down to a shy demeanour. However, his extensive all-night studies of things on the internet has taught him that people cannot be trusted, should not be touched and often spread diseases. Covid-19 has proved him right. In this time of national crisis, we can simply copy his lifestyle by moving in with our mum (but not if she’s over 70) and getting a pet snake.

    The ‘Aldi raiders’ and the ‘Cost Co. grabbers’ have perfected the practice of distancing. We have all seen them, buying trolleys full of toilet roll for themselves and leaving none for those who have genuinely run out. Many of us have expressed disapproval at this behaviour. However, we should learn from their pioneering spirit. By triggering a bout of panic buying, they have generated a wave of scorn that will guarantee that they will be ‘socially distanced’ by their own friends and family for many years to come. It is advised that outing yourself as a toilet-roll hoarder should be deployed as a measure of last resort.

    Use

    “Social distancing will require some serious lifestyle changes like staying at home and watching Netflix.”