Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
We hosted our first Social Distance Party yesterday afternoon. The key is hosting, that way you get full and uncontested control of the Bluetooth speaker.
I invited a few neighbors to come to my front yard with their own chair or picnic blanket, a beverage of choice, and Netflix suggestions for everyone else. I was planning on measuring out and designating six feet apart sitting areas but you get into trouble with that. Couples will take more space than individuals and call for a re-measurement. I’m of the opinion that since we all go to the grocery store much of this distancing is superfluous, but we have a neighbor who just completed, successfully thank goodness, a trying series of chemotherapy. I wasn’t about to worry her.
I told everyone that we’d be hanging out starting around four. As it turns out, at three-thirty I was in the yard with a tape measure and realized that my shadow – I’m 5’10’’ – was just over six feet long. The sun was only going to get lower, so as long as your shadow never touched anyone, we had our appropriate distance. For the Dr. Who fans out there, imagine the episode “Silence In The Library,” but instead of Dr. Who being there, I was streaming Who’s Next at a conversation-allowing volume.
I wasn’t sure that anybody would come, but they did. At least a few did.
There were a few that I knew well, a few that I knew from saying hello as we passed along the creek walking our dogs, and one couple I’ve never met before in my life. I was circumspect in handing out flyers. I wanted everyone within view of my yard to get an invite because I didn’t want to deal with the acrimony of not having invited them. Otherwise, I was pretty choosy. I have to confess that I was specifically trying to make sure that, it’s not her name but let’s call her Ashley, didn’t hear about a gathering because she would come and she would never stop talking. Every neighborhood has a busybody. Ashley is ours and I didn’t want her gobbling up the air at one of the few non-familial interactions that don’t include scrambling for a carton of eggs.
It turns out that my neighbors are pretty interesting. A surprising number work from home. We had a digital marketer, a video production developer, a book editor (my wife), a guy who books commercial roofing jobs, and a woman who designs software to make sure people who take online tests are not cheating. I thought that was particularly interesting. Apparently, if you want to take the GRE or some such at home, they have you use a webcam to film your testing room and then verify that you are who you say you are with various facial recognition programs and as you take the test they monitor how often you look away from the screen. Too many times and they assume you’re consulting a reference book or cheat sheet. That brings the hammer down.
One guy is an engineer for the local Honda plant. They’ve been declared essential because of the trickle-down effect that closing them would have on all manner of other businesses. They buy a lot of stuff from a lot of people. He describes his days now as a series of meetings that could easily have been done via conference call. There is another fellow who wasn’t there, but we have a neighbor who is a commercial real estate broker and is no doubt watching his world crumble as business after business realizes that office space may not be as necessary as he hopes they think it is.
The odd thing is that social distancing and the ridiculous phrase “shelter at home” has allowed an opportunity for me to get to know my neighbors. They are funny people. Especially after a glass of wine or few. A few joggers or one of the astonishing number of bikers who ride on my street commented as they passed by and saw us with our wine and beer: “That’s how you social distance!”
It was a really good time. We all agree that Ashley is the worst.Published in