social isolation experiments

Last night I watched a Shabbat service from a congregation back home. It was calming and I am grateful for the provision. It was the best policy for their congregation which is almost all over 60. They got twice the attendance on Facebook that I have ever seen them get in person. (On my first visit, the greeter said as I entered, “We’re up to ten!” If I’m your minyan, there are some membership and education challenges here.)

Today for the third week in a row I took part in Ipswich Parkrun / Parkwalk. This is a 5K course starting at 9 am every Saturday from Christchurch Mansion. It is relatively solitary exercise, unless you are fast enough to be part of the pack; I took some 58 minutes to do it (a personal best!) and usually had 5 m between me and the next slowest ahead, and 5 m between me and the sweepers behind.

Fast folk on their second loop passing the walkers.

I would like to keep doing this in Christchurch Park, even after the official event returns to more distant Chantry Park in April. I’m going to use an app to map the exact 5K path next week. It’s a beautiful route and once the pack moves to Chantry it will be really socially distant exercise.

I met a couple of Bookcrossers at a coffeehouse afterward – this is the regular Ipswich meeting. We discussed the news, the infrastructure and supply chains, the effect on our work, the likelihood of illness and death, how our parents and neighbors were likely to fare, and then somewhat guiltily, the projects that we looked forward to distracting ourselves with in the event of a lockdown: writing, reading, viewing, crafting, organizing, retooling our skills.

There is already a wholesome Bronson Alcottish home education and self-improvement strand of COVID discourse, led mainly by US parents whose kids are home from school and university. Finland is still suffering from couldn’t-happen-here-ism and has not ordered school closings yet, nor has the UK (here are retroactively posted reactions from Helsinki Times editor Alexis Kouros MD and Tero Kuittinen). I’m afraid the shine is coming off Sanna Marin’s government pretty fast.

Posted on by Diana ben-Aaron
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