# HOME LOSS CHANGE
That’s the public service announcement. Social. Distancing. A contradiction in terms that now makes sense. The most caring thing we can do is leave each other alone. Doctors are not optimistic that it will last. Six months into the pandemic, even those that did care about others’ safety (shockingly, in this country that can’t be taken for granted) are beginning to cave. We are social creatures after all. After all, we are feeling lonely. I spoke to my neighbors yesterday, all three of them. For the first time in the two years I’ve lived here. “Hi, my name is Carla. I’m sorry I’ve never said hi.”, I said. “I’m sorry, too”, Ken answered. Now I know. His name is Ken. He’s out in the yard a lot. His housemate is really the avid gardener. Something we could have in common. But I haven’t gone back out in the yard since, haven’t learned the other guy’s name. Old insecurities die hard after all it seems. I smile more at strangers in the street. Many reciprocate. We’re all going for walks around the blocks. On “Stay Healthy” streets that the city has closed to cars for this purpose. It seems we’re all grateful, craving the little freedom we can get. So I’m discovering every street in my neighborhood for the first time. Familiarity, my place. All the roses! Yards are overflowing with flowers. Of course we are gardening more than ever now. I heard that nurseries can’t keep up with inventory, same as home-improvement stores. What a joy, to smell all those roses, see all those colors swaying in the breeze. Big clouds in blue sky. I see them every day. I walk the same streets every day.
Green and blue and pink and yellow, bark and petal and bees and scents. Still refresh my mind every day. I don’t know if people are dating more or less now. Domestic violence has gone up, they say. A lot of people can’t actually stand being around each other this much. Depression and loneliness have gone up, too. People can’t stand being alone this much either. Everyone I know is happily coupled or actively dating. My housemate, who had planned to steer clear of monogamy for a while, is now “COVID exclusive” with his latest fling. I’m glad he’s being responsible. He assured us he was pre-screening his dates for COVID risk. Apparently dental assistants wear double PPE. So we approved her. I’m zooming all over the place now. Work meetings seem a lot more relaxed when my colleagues are lounging on their couches, stroking their cats, bookshelves and artwork their backdrop. I’m astonished, and grateful, that all my tribes have adapted. I’m not missing out on any of my usual activities. I go to dance class on zoom. Glad I have a large living room. Some cowards turn off their cameras, but I keep mine on, to keep our teacher motivated. Both my meditation groups meet on zoom. One puts up a screensaver. Nevertheless, assuming that twenty other people might be sitting dutifully holds me accountable. I don’t get up once. I swear. Folks in the younger group keep their cameras on. That's some peer pressure! I spend the entire sit wondering whether someone has opened their eyes to check whether I have opened my eyes. Awkward. And touching. That we’re all so willing to show up and be seen. I think people have missed being seen.