MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Friday, March 20th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
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BASHAM: Katie Gaultney now has some thoughts on how to use this pandemic for good.
KATIE GAULTNEY, COMMENTATOR: A couple of months ago, I tagged along on one of my husband’s business trips. After we called an Uber to take us from our hotel to the convention center, I hopped in the car and started chatting with our friendly driver. We had an instant rapport, and she told me how refreshing it was to talk to someone.
“I have people in my car all day long, but they never want to talk to me,” she told me sadly. Then she asked if we had heard about a new service many rideshares are offering—where you can pay a few dollars more for the driver not to talk to you.
That stuck with me. Is that what we’ve become? A society that values autonomy and efficiency above relationship? Then I thought about restaurant mobile orders, text messages, virtual meetings, even grocery delivery, where you can theoretically get your food for a week or more without ever interacting with another human.
This month, talk of isolation has bubbled over, and along with it, apparent fear over what to DO when you are stuck at home. Of course, self-quarantine—or in some cases, mandatory quarantine—isn’t a topic to make light of. It’s an essential part of “flattening the curve” of virus progression.
But I have to admit I was a little tickled that the same society of people who abhor chit-chatting with a rideshare driver or a barista are now desperate to get out into the world and make a human connection. So many of us are already pros at social distancing.
I’m not belittling the impact of these necessary measures. It’s not easy. I’m praying that people’s physical and mental needs are met during this unusual time.
But maybe this time at home can be a sort of reset button—a reminder that there are worse things than making small talk, or interacting with an actual human.
So, fire up that VPN and connect to work. Place the pizza delivery order. Live stream a church service this Sunday.
And when all this is done, when we can venture out into society again, do so with joy and gratitude that comes with knowing what a gift it is to interact with God’s creations.
I’m Katie Gaultney.