I have tried many online meetings and seminars and realize how much of benefit it offers to us during the Covid-19 emergency status. (In fact, my contact with friends has increased as we started zoom meeting.)   At the same time, “stay home” gives me the opportunity to appreciate small casual face-to-face conversation I have with front office of my apartment complex.

Since the emergency was declared, front office work stopped and no staff except one(in the back) was around.  Front office staff is helpful as they keep packages delivered, arrange the pick up etc. Often times they even help me fix lights at my apartment or move big items around.

While front office was closed, we had to bring our package to the nearby CVS and need to wait for the delivered goods in order not to request the repeat delivery.  Though these tasks bring some headache, the biggest issue for me was that I miss interacting/communicating with people at the front office casually.  They say “Have a good day”, “Welcome back” etc. whenever I pass the front office. But during the emergency declaration, nobody was around and no opportunity to have small talk.  I just passed by.

When they came back on the second day after the emergency status lifted, I realizes how much I missed  seeing them in person and having casual conversation.  I felt that my stress level was reduced as I had a chance to chit-chat.  I asked some what they have been up to while they worked from home, etc.  Nothing special, but they definitely made me feel home.

I happened to find the article in the NY Times about how to hug while pandemic is around.

Physical touch is important for our state of mind (I feel more so when I am overseas, as people there tend to have more physical contact than in Japan).  Not necessarily physical touch (which we may stay away for a while to do social distancing), but any real contact with people seems to have soothing effect.  I know that living alone with little contact with others  cause many health problems etc., even before Covid-19. Experiencing how it feels yourself gives different perspectives on the issue.  All of a sudden, you can FEEL it and start owning  problem, with stronger intention to do something about it.