Letter to the Editor: Social distancing or personal spacing?

To the Editor: 

It’s like a hurricane or Nor’easter but you can’t see it or forecast it! The good news? No power outages or property damage. However, there will be consequences. We all need to follow the Centers for Disease Control recommendations to get through this. 

I don’t really like the term “social distancing.” Although I totally agree with the concept, I don’t believe we should “socially” wall ourselves off from the world. “What?,” you say! “Yes!,” I say! In these uncertain times we should stay “socially” connected. Stay informed about the current situation via television or internet. Choose responsible sources, like CDC.gov. But, equally important, we should stay “socially” connected with those we can’t connect with physically. FaceTime, Facebook, Instagram, texting or just plain old-fashioned phone calls are so important right now, especially when the most vulnerable among us need it the most. 

I’m trying to think of innovative ways to do that. My therapy dog, Miss Scarlett, and I will miss our weekly visits with Birch Bay residents. But there is no reason why we can’t see them and talk to them. We could see them through their window and talk to them on the phone. Weather has been conducive to that. Go outside, if you can, and socialize at a safe distance. My “art” friends and I go outside and paint, even in winter. You might have recently read about our “plein air painting” group in the Islander. Great to be outside with friends. I attended my cousin’s church service yesterday, which was live streamed from Ohio. The message: church is not about the building; it is all about the people. Timely! 

So I’d like to propose a new term for the situation we’re in. Practice “personal spacing.” Because I think that’s what the “experts” are really recommending. Keep the “personal space” around you to six feet. That’s right! No more hugs, high fives or handshakes! But we still can smile, nod, wave and blow kisses.  We can still stay socially connected. 

What ways can you think of to maintain maximum “personal space” while minimizing “social” distance with those you care about. Stay healthy! 

Beverly Bono 

Bar Harbor 

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