After spending over two months in quarantine, we’ve all developed our own opinions about all this, and you’ve probably gotten a little used to not having as many social interactions. But for a lot of places, including here, the Safer-at-Home order has lifted recently, which probably means we’ll start seeing more people, even if we don’t jump straight to crowds. So… what if there was a way to right-away show how concerned you are and how you want others to treat you?
In the few social interactions we’ve had over the course of spring, we’ve met a broad range of people, all with different comfort levels regarding social distancing. We’ve talked to a man who didn’t think it was true, and couldn’t care less about keeping a distance. On the contrary, we’ve also talked a woman who was wearing a mask (and so were we), already over six feet apart, and still she was pressing herself against a fence in an effort to keep a larger distance. And everyone else is somewhere in between. The thing is, though, when you meet someone, you don’t know what they think. You don’t know if they’re going to totally freak out when you take a step closer, or if they’re going to say, “Screw it all!” and leave you awkwardly trying to hint in a polite way that you’d like them to not be so close.
I have a solution! A sort of sign language comprised of hand waves to show people if you’re a mask-and-gloves-er or an it’s-all-a-hoax-er, or, like many of us, somewhere in the middle. (Honestly, it’s pretty disappointing that this has in some places become a political thing, but that’s not what this post is about.) I’m going to call it… Covid-Code.
The hand waves might be less embarrassing or strange than walking up to people and saying, “I am terrified of anyone less than ten feet away from me,” because hand waves are already natural for many people, and they aren’t like handshakes or something. You can do them at any distance.
A sort of sign language composed of hand waves to show people if you’re a mask-and-gloves-er or an it’s-all-a-hoax-er, or, like many of us, somewhere in the middle.
If you’re thinking that it could still be awkward because one typically doesn’t wave to someone already standing right in front of them, then so am I. And I don’t have a good argument for this. But a little bit of awkward is better than a lot, and maybe since we’re keeping a little bit of a distance it isn’t quite as odd.
Well, here we go.
- When meeting someone new, always keep a distance of about six feet, if possible. I don’t think I really have to say this, because this is pretty much a rule regardless of this sarcastic idea, but it will ensure that — unless you are very, very concerned and feel the need to have a larger distance — everyone is fairly comfortable. And then you can do your waves.
- After you have used Covid-Code to express how you feel about social distancing, you and the other person/people can compromise and find a happy medium. Keep in mind that your “happy medium” might not be, well, a medium. You should always lean toward what the person who is most careful wants. If you don’t really care all that much about social distancing, you may prefer to be closer, but people who are most cautious will feel unsafe, and safety is more important than preferences.
- Keep reading to see each “word.”
Here are the “words” to Covid-Code.
The I am very concerned about this, and I ask that you please keep as much distance as physically possible from me, as well as wearing a mask and gloves.
This GIF isn’t perfect, but it is basically a mix of a hand wave and a swat. 🙃 It begins at the wrist rather than using the whole arm like shown above. The wrist is at about chest height.
The I am pretty concerned, yeah, so please stay six feet away and wear at least a mask.
A little wave, at shoulder height, moving the fingers as depicted above. I noticed that sometimes these GIFs aren’t working, so if you can’t see “what’s depicted above,” she’s folding her fingers on her palm. It’s like a normal small wave.
The I’m okay with you not wearing a mask, but please stay six feet away.
A slight wiggle of the fingers at shoulder height.
The I’m okay with you getting a little closer than six feet, but please wear a mask.
A classic side-to-side wave moving not only your hand but also your forearm. However, it is important that it is just a little wave. In other words, your hand is not going that far back and forth. Scroll down and you’ll understand.
The Yeah, you can get a little closer than six feet. I’m not too concerned.
A bigger, wider wave than the I’m okay with you getting a little closer than six feet, but please wear a mask. Again, move your forearm as well.
The You’re just one person, and it’s all right. Whatever you want I’m pretty much okay with.
A wave where your arm is extended high above your head, but for the most part the only thing that moves is your hand.
The I don’t believe in any of this, and I don’t care at all about social distancing.
A large, circular wave starting from (assuming you’re using your right hand) the left side of your chest, arching above your head, and ending an arm’s length (obviously) away from the right side of your chest. Ehh, the GIF explains it better than I can.
Aaand, there you have it folks! An unofficial guide to Covid-Code. I hope it’s evident that I’m writing in jest. I don’t take this lightly, and I understand that it is not just about concern, also that some are at higher risk. Covid-Code wouldn’t work, anyway, because it would have to be extremely popular and well-known, and even then, not everyone would support it or care about it. I’m just another person going through the same history as you, reflecting on this unusual experience and all the small struggles that require us to have a new mindset. I hope that as you come out of your home/shell more this summer, you are taking precautions and are mindful of those around you and their degree of caution.