Social Distancing

I’ve been hyperaware of this social distancing bit. I’m a hugger and so I have to remind myself to respect the space. Has this been difficult or different for anyone else?

I went for a hike yesterday up in Veteran’s Park. It’s felt so good to get outside and get fresh air and pump my legs. As I turned a corner to go up to the stairs I heard some people so I slowed down to make space for them and not startle them. There was a young, chubby guy with the most shiny, round, beautiful chipmunk cheeks I have ever seen (OK, second most beautiful, my baby niece takes the cake on beautiful chipmunk cheeks). The kid practically yelled “hello” and came at me with arms wide open for a hug. I stepped back with my hands out in front of me. I looked to his hiking buddy, maybe his brother? He was calling to him in Spanish, telling him to stop. I was startled. Not freaked out and there was no gut wrenching warning like I was in danger–I hope you’ve never felt that before but I have and you know, your whole body washes over with this warm sensation and your insides clench up and you freeze and want to run away. I believe they call that fight or flight. Anyways, this was just like, ahhh sorry! We’re not supposed to hug right now. And then I realized this kid had some sort of developmental disorder. He held his arms out again and came at me, slowly and steadily, for a hug. His brother grabbed his arm and told him to come along.

I said “I’m so sorry, honey, it’s just that we’re not supposed to hug right now…umm, coronavirus…” I felt stupid as I said it.

He kept yelling “hello” as he and his brother walked off in one direction and me in another. I turned the corner and burst into tears. I was standing on the trail “ugly crying” as the cute girls call it. I was so sad that I didn’t hug the kid. I know we’re in a global pandemic but was my hugging this kid going to disrupt the course of fate?

All these thoughts ran through my head as I wept. It felt good to cry. And to cry outside in the open air, not holed up in my bedroom. Not that I ever feel holed up in my bedroom but you get what I’m saying. So I just took a moment to cry. And it felt good. If you have someone you’re not condemned to be socially distant from, like your husband, wife, boyfriend, etc. please hug them extra hard and long for me today.

4 comments on “Social Distancing

  1. Beautiful story, you did the right thing, you have a big heart but these days, abide by the rules!
    Take care and keep walking, hiking, loving and living.


  2. I loved it so much when you said “I am a hugger” and you made me think deeper in this word, how precious is the Hug, I lost it since I was obliged willingly to distant myself from the most loveable people “my family” whom they supported me for years with the most powerful hug that used to be filled with passion, power, support, nostalgia.
    The distance is always there, all immigrants are living this distance, COVID19 just made it more obvious and shown to the public.
    By the way I am a hugger too, and when I give my daughters one I make sure it has all the vitamins.

    1. Hiba, this is so beautiful and so sad. I’m sorry you are so far from your family but I am so happy you have your beautiful girls (and lovely husband!) that you can hug long and hard.

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