PANDEMIC, SCREEN, REUNION
Being so connected to one’s phone…
How did we ever live without it?
Our cognitive maps changed completely.
I swear, our brains, our brain structures have changed.
How many times do we pick it up?
The stats show it. 100 times a day?
16 hours awake. 6 times an hour. Every 10 minutes. It’s crazy.
All of life is there.
Or so it seems to us.
There are friends that we hardly ever see on social media. What about them, what are they up to? Do they live their lives more fully and productively? Are they more serious, more busy? ☺
It’s not that simple… ☺
I am having to restrain myself from looking at my phone just now.
It’s too much.
And exploited, abused sometimes.
One needs to block it out, put some kind of embargo on it. Let’s say I have already started to develop such tendencies.
Need alternative attractions.
We are transformers.
My journal is an important tool that reminds me, there is another world, a medium other than the phone and computer, and takes me to that world once in a while. A refuge. A lifesaver?
And my cats. In another way, but definitely so.
Tactile. Organic. ‘Natural’… Alive! With personalities… And able to give love, in a more intimate sense.
People I love, I care about, I am curious about, are all at the other end of the phone screen. Digital touches, clicks away. Audiovisual illusions.
But I wanna feel them in their physical atoms, at ‘real’ scale and proximity, in my own geometrical space.
I gotta keep calling, visiting, seeing friends in person.
Even calling and hearing their voices is much better, more personal, more intimate.
Who did I see, in real life, face to face, in the past three weeks?
My sister and her husband, when visiting their home. 2 people.
The ceramics course people, on ‘Bankalar Caddesi’. 4 people.
My young friend who owns the cafe I frequent on my street, and his employee. 2 people.
For professional projects, a friend from a project with Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, coincidentally on my street, by the cafe. 1 person.
Some friends, colleagues and dignitaries in Izmir for a project with Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. If we count those in the conference hall for the workshop in Izmir, about 100 people. If we count the dinner, about 20 people.
My oldest aunt and her husband, in Izmir. 2 people.
(It is miraculous that in the last seven months, I made two trips out of town, in December and March, and one trip abroad in October.)
3-4 friends and professors, in Taksim, for our NGO affairs.
The hairdresser I frequent, in Galatasaray. About 10 people.
Regarding a cultural tourism project, a colleague visiting from abroad, at his AirBnb in Moda. 1 person.
Short exchanges of greeting with the familiar business owners on our street. About 8 people.
Our walk to Taksim and Harbiye with my long-time ‘bestie’. 1 person.
Other close friends, parents, other close family members, they are always on the screens of phones and computers.
As for friends and colleagues I meet on-screen for work, I suppose they cannot even be counted. I am guessing dozens, even hundreds…!
It’s how it is, at this time. What to do, it’s just how it is.
So I’ve seen approximately 150 people in total in the last three weeks. 50 people, if we don’t count the workshop, which was a type of event I attended for the first time since the pandemic broke out. Seeing an average of 15-20 people a week. How much less is this compared to before the pandemic?
Actually, this number would be considered ‘too many’ by some people, under pandemic conditions! Most of them were outdoors or in large, low-density interior spaces, always masked except for at homes and restaurants. I haven’t been able to get tested since the PCR test I took in October. We await our turn to get vaccinated, and since the over-55-year-olds have begun, with hopes that our turn will come in June…
I wonder if our ties with our phones and screens will loosen a little, if real-life socializing returns to pre-pandemic levels?
While trying to appreciate digital facilities and not be thankless, I can’t wait to meet with my people again, those whom I will hug tightly, share a meal and a cake with! Yearned-for reunions!