Neighbors

On one of the first quarantine days, I went out to take a walk right after I finished working. And when I was passing the mailboxes, I saw four of my five closest neighbors staying at a distance from each other and talking. I said: Hi, neighbors! So nice to see everybody at the same time – I do not remember whether it ever happened before!

Everybody these days behaves differently. Some people had isolated themselves way before the actual quarantine measures were announced. Some were and still are ignoring official guidelines when it comes to their relatives and neighbors; they think that the closest people “do not count.” I am trying not to judge anybody. It’s very difficult to tell at the moment which combination of measures, if any will work. Different doctors, different scientists, often disagree on the best course of action. I am trying my best to be a responsible citizen, and sometimes it is tough.

One of my neighbors is very strict in following social distancing. She was covering her face with a scarf way before it became a requirement, and she keeps the six feet distance all the time. When we talked on the porch, and I asked her whether she wants some of my soup (she loves it like anybody who ever tried it :)), she asked me to put a container on the steps. I did, and then stepped aside, and then she picked it. (She returned it to me in the same way, texted me her thanks, and left a container in the bag on the doorknob).

My other neighbor, my next-door one, still wants me to visit from time to time, and I do stop by, although I understand that when I am inside, the distance is less than six feet. She is heartbroken that her children and grandchildren do not visit. She was telling me that she suggested they come and sit on her deck, keeping the distance, but they said they want her to be safe. She is usually very calm and does not show her emotions, but she was visibly upset. We talked, and after a while, she said: I should not complain, we are better off than many people.

Yesterday, I was returning home from my midday bike ride. And another neighbor, the one who lives here only for a couple of years, waved me and asked how I am doing. We walked towards our houses, and out of nowhere, she asked: so when is next time your husband coming? I caught my breath: maybe, never! I don’t know at this point, perhaps not this year. She continued: it must be very hard… – It is what it is! Not until the planes will start to fly again. She went on: oh yes, that’s right, but I mean, in general … that he is away… is it because of his work? I replied: It’s a long story! And then I tried to increase the distance to the size required by the State of Illinois 🙂

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