Social Distancing: I’m Missing the Hugs

Those of you who know me, know that hugs are a big part of who I am, so it feels as if social distancing has robbed me of a measure of my humanity.

It distresses me to look back on the first time I turned away a hug.  I was enjoying the fresh air by the pond near my home, as I engaged in conversation with a gentleman a safe 8 feet away.

Suddenly, a dear friend came rushing up to me with arms outstretched. Instinctively, I raised my arms in karate defensive mode.

“Don’t come any closer.  Don’t touch me,” I blurted out.

“Not even an arm bump?”

“No, I’m keeping the 6- foot distance.”

I don’t know who was more hurt, my friend for being rejected, or me for rejecting him. 

In these serious times of coronavirus, I fully understand the life-saving importance of social distancing. But this whole unnatural practice is so out of character for me.  It got me thinking.  I’ve started carrying a tally in my head of all the hugs I’ve failed to give and failed to accept. Going back over the past two weeks of cancelled parties, postponed concerts, staying out of the local bars, lounges and restaurants, I estimate my total to be 425 hugs that I have not shared.

I’ve been focusing on how to convey the feeling of hugs in other ways.  Through the intonations of my voice in telephone conversations that replace long texts.  In my written words on Facebook, making sure that each like is accompanied by an encouraging comment.

In the meantime, I’m sending this hug to replace the ones I can’t give you in person.

On the day the ban is lifted, you will find me in downtown Safety Harbor on the southeast corner of Main Street and Bayshore Boulevard.  I invite my friends to join me and collect all the hugs that I didn’t give you in the weeks during the crisis.

You say you don’t know me? No worries. If you’re reading my blog, I consider you my friend, so come and collect your hugs.

written by Amy Bryant, Safety Harbor Resident Blogger
Author of “You Can Go Home Again“

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