Sunshine Does Not Negate Social Distancing!

social distancing, health, Modern PhilosopherI’m a bit pissed off at my fellow man right now, Modern Philosophers.

Don’t worry.  I’m probably not angry at any of you.  Unless, of course, you were out on the river walk this morning during my run.

As I’ve related in previous posts, I’ve continued my running routine, and have seen next to no one else on the road.  It’s gotten to the point that I’ve wondered if everyone else in the neighborhood moved away.

Really fueling my abandonment issues, but that’s an entirely different blog post.

This morning the narrative changed, and we all know how much I hate change.  As I approached the river walk, I saw several cars in the lot.  I immediately felt a disturbance in the Force, but then again, my natural introvert’s instinct is to avoid the world.

Today was much sunnier and warmer than usual, so it made sense that other people would take advantage of the nice weather to do something healthy.  After all, as long as everyone follows the rules of social distancing, it’s okay for more than one person to be outside at a time.  I just knew to be careful.

Because I don’t trust people.  And the reason for that was proven almost immediately.

About 100 feet into my run, I spotted two older men chatting in the middle of the path.  These are gentlemen I’ve seen before on my runs, and they are probably in their late 60s or early 70s.  They always say hi when I pass, and they seem nice.

But that was in the world before the Coronavirus.

Now, I see everyone as a threat to my health.  And these two were in the middle of the road, mere inches from each other, not giving me much room on either side to pass.

Not cool.  I might have growled in anger, but that has not been confirmed.

social distancing, health, Modern PhilosopherI pulled up my face mask, looped out onto the grass and rocks, and sprinted past.  I could not believe they didn’t even move once they saw me coming.  I’m not hard to miss at 6’3″ and wearing a mask.  I’d clear the hell out if I saw me running at me!

I hoped this was a one time issue, but soon enough, I picked up someone else coming towards me.  Of course I did.

Let me point out here that I run on the extreme right hand side of the path even if I don’t see anyone else around.  I just want to get into the habit of leaving plenty of room for people to pass.

Because that’s was social distancing asks us to do.  So we can flatten the damn curve, save lives, and get back to living in a more normal matter.

The person coming at me, however, was smack in the middle of the path, and made no move to widen the gap between us.

Again, I put up my mask and swerved out onto the grass and rocks.  Keep in mind, of course, that the river is right there on the other side of the rocks, and I am not much of a swimmer.  But I’d rather take my chance with the water than with someone who might be carrying a virus.

This continued to happen for the duration of my run.  I’d gotten so used to having the path all to myself, that I was upset to actually see other humans.  I would have been fine sharing the path, but these folks didn’t seem to care about social distancing rules.

Hence my being pissed.

During my run, I passed both a group of three and a group of four.  In both cases, they walked abreast, taking up the entire path.  Since I saw them coming, I was able to run up on the grass and give myself a wide buffer.

social distancing, health, Modern PhilosopherBut never did they make a move to give me more room.  And this was a game of chicken I was absolutely not willing to play.

I’m all for people wanting to be healthy, but this is not a normal time in our history.  If you’re going to be out, just respect the rules of social distancing.

How hard is it to move over when you see someone approaching?  Why are you stopping to chat in the middle of the path to talk, when you’re not six feet from the other person?  Why are you walking three or four abreast?  That’s not safe for anyone in the group, let alone an unsuspecting stranger who is out for a run.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but this seems like a situation where my losing my cool is completely understandable.  The only way to flatten the curve is to avoid contact, keep our distance, and show some common courtesy to our fellow man.

Sure, you might feel entitled to walk wherever you want and take up as much space as you want, but you can’t think that way anymore.

Just be a decent human.  Remember you’re not the only one in the world.

End of rant.  Thanks for reading.  Stay safe and practice social distancing!

Has it been your experience that people are following the rules of social distancing?  Do you say anything to people who do not?

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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20 Responses to Sunshine Does Not Negate Social Distancing!

  1. I agree this is crucial. I can’t understand those who want to risk catching this horrible virus, or spread it to others. Madness. Hope next time you go for your run the humans you meet will behave as they should.

  2. Bryntin says:

    There is some sort of denial going on. Some people think they’re somehow above it, tougher or will survive being ill themselves, so see no reason to take any of the avoiding measures the rest of us are trying to take.
    It’s wrong headed, selfish and a threat and it’s going to take someone famous and in the public eye to die from this thing before acceptance that it could easily be them instead sets in to these people.

  3. jilldennison says:

    Humanity is showing its worst side these days, in many ways, and I am disgusted with all that I see lately. But, perhaps for slightly different reasons than you. I see “social distancing” as naught but a buzzword, a cutesy phrase for isolation, for that’s what it is. And the isolation is causing many of us to be in a serious funk, the kind that will show in the suicide statistics at the end of the year. No reasonableness, no common sense, just everybody crawl into your hole and pull it in behind you. Sigh. Except those, of course, who are out hoarding toilet paper, chicken and green peppers! Keep safe.

  4. markbialczak says:

    I am totally with you on this point, Austin. Not being able to control the behavior of others is the reason why my dear wife Karen and I have not taken to the beautiful paths by the lake, instead sticking to our wider neighborhood streets for our daily walks. The park trails are crowded and not wide enough to ensure that six feet.
    Sadly, around here, our county executive had to deal with a photo of adults tailgating in the the parking lot of a closed golf course, a couple dozen of them acting as if there is nothing wrong. And the mayor of Syracuse had to have park workers take down the actual basketball rims when so many games broke out during a nice day this week, all the players disregarding the social distancing and endangering themselves and the community.
    Oh, people.

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  6. Same thing was happening here at the beach in Redondo. By Friday when I walked out my front door to take my daily beach walk, it was so crowded with people, kids, dogs and bikes the city shut down all beaches and walkways. I’m happy, but now I go for my walks not on the beach but miles up the street. Small price to pay for the morons that don’t follow the rules.

    • Austin says:

      I’m sorry you lost your beach access. I ended up running up and down my block today to ensure social distancing. The block is on a steep hill, so it was a great workout…

  7. beth says:

    most people i see are doing pretty well with it, with some exceptions. i do twice daily walks through my park and see a lot of life out there, but keeping a distance

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