Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Being Social and Distant

 

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 General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 6 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Annefy Member

    My little town and the one neighboring have quite a few “Ashleys”, so much so that any time we are with people outside our home we are hanging in the backyard. Social Media is full of people complaining of people hanging around together.

    My son in law recently re-installed our Christmas lights with a covid themed music track. My daughter, son in law and their two children came over on Friday night to see “daddy’s lights”. I told all of them that if we were questioned, we were to claim we all lived here (which was true for about three years)

    Lots of cars full of people came by to watch; we all kept our distance while talking from the lawn.

    Sure enough, on Saturday I saw a comment on a local FB page complaining about too many people on our lawn. And others were suggesting that the police should have been called. 

    Glad your gathering went well – all told ours did also. Here’s a short video of the light show (actual show lasts about 45 minutes)

     

     

     

    • #1
    • April 5, 2020, at 3:52 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mr. Charlotte and I participated in a Zoom-hosted (is that the right word??) game night on Friday with five friends at a total of four different locations. I was surprised and delighted with how seamless it was. We played an online version of Cards Against Humanity with shared laptop screens and video of each player. It’s not the same as in-person socializing, but it was fun and I was impressed.

    • #2
    • April 5, 2020, at 4:35 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Annefy (View Comment):

    My little town and the one neighboring have quite a few “Ashleys”, so much so that any time we are with people outside our home we are hanging in the backyard. Social Media is full of people complaining of people hanging around together.

    My son in law recently re-installed our Christmas lights with a covid themed music track. My daughter, son in law and their two children came over on Friday night to see “daddy’s lights”. I told all of them that if we were questioned, we were to claim we all lived here (which was true for about three years)

    Lots of cars full of people came by to watch; we all kept our distance while talking from the lawn.

    Sure enough, on Saturday I saw a comment on a local FB page complaining about too many people on our lawn. And others were suggesting that the police should have been called.

    Glad your gathering went well – all told ours did also. Here’s a short video of the light show (actual show lasts about 45 minutes)

     

     

     

    Annefy (View Comment):

    My little town and the one neighboring have quite a few “Ashleys”, so much so that any time we are with people outside our home we are hanging in the backyard. Social Media is full of people complaining of people hanging around together.

    My son in law recently re-installed our Christmas lights with a covid themed music track. My daughter, son in law and their two children came over on Friday night to see “daddy’s lights”. I told all of them that if we were questioned, we were to claim we all lived here (which was true for about three years)

    Lots of cars full of people came by to watch; we all kept our distance while talking from the lawn.

    Sure enough, on Saturday I saw a comment on a local FB page complaining about too many people on our lawn. And others were suggesting that the police should have been called.

    Glad your gathering went well – all told ours did also. Here’s a short video of the light show (actual show lasts about 45 minutes)

     

     

     

    That light show is amazing. For the record, my wife and I have been walking around the house for the last week singing “Covid 19/Oh we need a vaccine.”

    • #3
    • April 5, 2020, at 4:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Mr. Charlotte and I participated in a Zoom-hosted (is that the right word??) game night on Friday with five friends at a total of four different locations. I was surprised and delighted with how seamless it was. We played an online version of Cards Against Humanity with shared laptop screens and video of each player. It’s not the same as in-person socializing, but it was fun and I was impressed.

    Now you have me thinking about Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder game nights. You’d probably need a dedicated camera for the dice, maybe in a cake pan or something so we all knew things were on the up and up.

    I’m mildly averse to board games for the moment because my thirteen year old beat me a chess yesterday for the first time without me letting him have a win to encourage him. He did this sneaky bishop move that masked his queen’s attack. I didn’t see it coming and he won’t stop talking about it, but a video hosted game night sounds like a good time.

    • #4
    • April 5, 2020, at 5:03 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  5. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ben Sears (View Comment):
    my thirteen year old beat me a chess yesterday for the first time without me letting him have a win to encourage him

    The passing of the torch! Congrats to Young Sears, and to his old man for teaching him so well.

    • #5
    • April 5, 2020, at 8:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor

    We’ve had a couple of those gatherings on Tuesday evenings. At the last one (women only!), we had about 10 people. We found ourselves speaking to those closest to us because we would have had to shout to be heard across the circle!

    Regarding the Ashleys of the world (and I know I will sound mean), I call them out. When we’re not meeting, I would meet individually with her and say everyone needs air time, and I’d encourage her to listen more and talk less. I’ve even been known to give a signal (holding up my hand at my shoulder) to signal her stopping. A person either gets angry or embarrassed (oh well), or knows she has a problem and agrees to a signal. If they refuse to show up because of the feedback, it’s her choice.

    • #6
    • April 7, 2020, at 7:38 AM PDT
    • 1 like