Social Distancing

The first time I noticed social distancing was shortly ofter moving to Ohio. I noticed when standing with a group of people, I always seemed to be backing up.  It seemed that people were invading my space. Soon I realized that people in the east allow people to stand closer than did westerners. I was actually moving back to create space comfortable to me. Over time I felt more comfortable with the Ohio social distancing, but some people still seem to invade my space. As I watch irritated people get into someones face I become very uneasy.


As a youth social distancing had a much different meaning. When I was in my teen years there were dances in the high school gym almost every week. One week it would be sponsored by the school and the next by the church. These dances were interesting. I remember dancing with Shirley Jermain long before I met and married her sister Kathryn. Often my cousin Bob Nash and his wife-to-be would come from Springville. 


The arrangement of people at the dance was interesting. There was a section of young ladies waiting to be asked to dance on one side of the floor. Some were standing or sitting on the bleachers. On the other side of the dance floor the young men formed a standing line.  This was the "stag line" of young men waiting to dance. They would crowd out to the floor as they tried to get their nerve to dance. Since it was the males role to ask the female to dance, they had to get their nerve up to go ask someone to dance or cut in on a dancing couple.  To cut in you would tap someone on the shoulder and dance with their partner. It always seemed easier to cut in than to walk over and ask someone to dance. There were always a few couples that just seemed to ignore social distancing rules.  They were way too close together. These rules were in inches not yards.


My next involvement with youth dances was as a member of the high council assigned to oversee the young women. In this capacity I was in charge of chaperoning dances.  The stake in Cincinnati required that the distance between two dancers was called book clearance, or better a quad clearance. The quad refers to the combined four volumes of scripture(Bible,Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price). Thus social distancing is 4-5 inches between a couple. After watching the dancers I observed another problem which bothered me was the social placing of hands.  I noticed one young man that had his right hand on his partner's derrière.


Covid-19 has given new definition to social distancing. Dr. Fauci told us 6 feet is the preferred distance to reduce transmission of covid-19 virus. This distance is greater than the distance I desired as a westerner. I did note that in Spain they recommended 1 meter which is half of Dr. Fauci's recommendation. As we adjust to this new norm of social distance we find that many of the social greetings are also banned.  Contact such as shaking hands, hugging, dancing, and even kissing are signs of great trust because of possible covid-19 infection. The $64 question is what will social distancing look like after the pandemic passes?  Will people still go to work or school with a cold?