On the Execution of Physical Distancing

Now we’ve collectively decided that it’s not a social distancing but a physical one only, we can start talking about how to finetune it to maximise both our safety, and the safety of everyone we come across on the streets. Cause let me tell you people, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it’s not happening!

I make this exact face to people who decide they’re not dangerous enough while on a walk. Did you ever think I might be? I’ll start coughing whenever someone’s close to passing me, just you wait.

Seeing as we’re dealing with an encouragement to not go outside these days, out of the last week I took the safety precaution to not go outside more than 4x in general, which includes 2 grocery runs because my eyes seem to skip over vital things written down on a list these days. For someone who is used to walking 13k steps a day, walks to every appointment or errand, and has a tendency to physically escape awkward home situations, that is a big difference to what I used to do before. During the first weeks of lock-down, I would go out for a walk or run every day. The more time passes though, the less sure I am of going outside at all anymore…

It’s not me, it’s most definitely them.

For some reason that I don’t even care to know, nowadays when I go outside for a walk, people are walking, biking and jogging past me like the 1.5m-distance rule doesn’t have to be implemented unless you’re dying. I’ll be making a huge circle around people coming towards me on the pavement, only to see that a moment later, when i’m back on it and with 3m of empty cycling path between mine and the other side’s, a bike just rides by with 30cm of a distance from me. And I’m literally standing there, with my mouth open, gawking after them – I curse very easily, so I’m proud I can keep words inside my head at these times, though I vow to simply cough next time I hear something approach, for good measure.
But my headphones are too good at cancelling out noise, so I never manage to.
And at the store, there’s a 500m long cue to get into it, with people leaving entire lengths of cars between one another, only to get inside the store and crowd around you like they’re a cat that’s decided now‘s the time to cuddle. Are you freaking kidding me right now

Do you think this is a one-time occurrence though? Like I just had some bad luck encounters? I can assure you, it is not. For both Easter holy-days (Sunday and Monday) I went on 2h long walks, and the reason for that is that I was trying to avoid people for so long, I got lost and had to find my way back. At least I was alone for most of the latter part, which made it all worthwhile. But I’m serious, bikers and joggers are going past you like 20cm is enough of a distance when you’re fast enough (it’s not. You should even leave more space because of the increased speed with which you catapult spit and drops around!). Fellow walkers are pretending like they’re parking their cars and the actual distance is bigger than the perceived one. People in stores are hoarding, week after week, like the apocalypse is coming, yet generally behave like there’s nothing going on, ignoring personal space like it’s 2019 again.

And all the while, older people are walking to the ends of the 400m cues for a shop, waiting for 40 minutes to even enter the store, only to be bombarded by frantic hoarders who have no idea of what they could be possibly transmitting to the most vulnerable group of us all.

And I would just like to ask you all, not that you all do it but you know, just for science to make sure I get everyone possible involved: What the heck is this about???
Why are people being so careless now? Do they think the longer this lock-down lasts, the less cautious we need to be? Is the population of Belgium just completely unaware of, or unable to gauge distances well enough? Has the old-age lie of what 10cm really are finally made its way into life-long problems? Are people in other countries behaving this way, too?

This is all I have to say. Seriously though people, what are you doing.

I leave you with those questions and the wise words of Barack Obama. Be safe out there in this world where people are trying to prolong the lock-down it seems, and stay healthy and sane!

Published by thepangaeablog

We're the staff of Pangaea, the Intercultural Meeting Centre of the KU Leuven in Leuven, Belgium! Welcome to our blog where we aim to inform you of all we are doing, have planned, and keep you connected with what has happened lately!

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