Unsociable Distancing by Paul Mattaliano


Unsociable Distancing

on the Normal Necessity of Human Contact

On the radio one morning, I heard a commercial for a product—I don't recall what—which ended with a comment that, in the age of Covid-19, has become commonplace. Wanting to assure customers that they could obtain the product without fear of contracting or passing on the dreaded disease, the announcer said it could be provided with "no human contact required." I began to turn that statement over in my mind. "Is this where our society is heading?", I wondered.

After the commercial, I heard an interview with the winning driver of the first NASCAR race run since stay-at-home orders and social distancing had been imposed. The driver said that there had been some stress involved in going through the safety protocols before the race, but once it started, it felt good to have some normalcy back in life. But that only lasted until the race was over. When the victorious driver exited his vehicle, ready to release all his emotions and pent-up energy in front of what would normally have been a roaring, appreciative crowd, he was met with . . . silence. There were no fans in the stands. That silence, he said, had a sobering and dampening effect on his experience of victory. Hmm . . . "no human contact required"?


Paul Mattaliano is a retired IT professional and former elder at Garden Lake Bible Church in New Jersey. He currently resides in Ladson, South Carolina, and attends First Baptist Church in Charleston with Linda, his wife of 45 years. They have four children, all married, and nine grandchildren.

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