Nobody Knows Who Anyone Is Anymore

And I’m relieved

When I see our neighbors out walking in the ice and snow, with their hats, scarves, big coats, and covid masks, I have no idea who they are. No one does.

For me, this is a welcome reprieve. I have terrible facial recognition “software.” I don’t usually know who these neighbors are, even without the disguise. But I should! And I’m not just “should-ing” on myself here. They’re people I’ve interacted with many times over the years. However, without ever knowing exactly who’s who, it’s super hard to know what those interactions have been. Mercifully, I no longer need to!

Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer to know. It’s a huge social disadvantage to be socially myopic. I long for more connection in my life, but when I can’t summon any sense of a shared past, it’s pretty hard to take a relationship further.

If someone happens to have a dog, I have a better chance to place them. If not, I either have to scurry by, as if I’m late for a plane, or hang in through the awkward moments hoping they will clue me in.

But not anymore. There is a city ordinance to wear a mask. And it’s too cold to go hatless. Who am I to argue with nature and the law? I’m still missing out on the chance for connection, but so is everyone. I finally can’t blame me.

I’ll admit that I’m looking pretty hard for the silver lining of this miserable, dark storm cloud. But it’s not like I have that much else to do.

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