The Labels I Got Because of Applying Social Distancing

During the coronavirus era, couples go through several arguments. Ours don’t have to do with the fact that we cannot stand spending so much time together. We ‘re not closer to kill each other every day that passes. On the contrary, thanks to the quarantine we spend together more quality time, and we really enjoy each other’s company. Until the discussion comes to coronavirus measures.

Some days ago, a couple of friends, who live a few blocks away from us, decided to go back to their home country until things in New York get better. On the eve of their flight they would drop at our doorstep a few perishables and a surfboard that wouldn’t fit in their storage, since they were leaving their apartment.

I went downstairs to grab the stuff and say goodbye. My boyfriend stayed in the apartment since he had an important business call at the time. I saw them standing at the curbside, with their masks and plastic gloves on. I approached in a distance such that we could talk with each other. We talked for a while, keeping more than 6-feet distance between us.

A few minutes had passed when I heard the building door opening behind me and saw my boyfriend approaching. He ran towards them in an attempt to hug, just to stop a few centimeters before, abruptly remembering that “yeah, we cannot do this anymore.”

He stayed there talking to them, barely not touching them every time he extended his arms. I made some comments a couple of times, like “Baby, can you take a few steps back?”, which he did, only to step forward a few seconds later. Finally, we took the stuff and headed upstairs.

While the entrance door was heavily closing behind me, I said, “Don’t you understand that you have to keep your distance? It is not right, and some people may feel uncomfortable as well.”

“I don’t think about it. Sometimes I see my friend whom I don’t know when and if I’ll see again and I want to hug him. I am expressive. I am not like you.”

“I am expressive. I am not like you”

That’s what he said and climbed up the stairs, leaving these words echoing in my ears and my mind for the next hours.

So, let me get this straight. Just because I am extra cautious and strictly apply social distancing rules, amid a pandemic that has killed thousands of people so far in the city I live, I am being labeled as not expressive?

I am also disrespectful, because I am not allowing my boyfriend to hug our friends, and I am making my recommendations for keeping distance “in front of others”, as he pointed out after we got inside the apartment.

Well, the situation being what it is, if I hadn’t pointed it out “in front of others”, it wouldn’t make sense pointing it out at all. The point is to take precautions at the right moment, not to argue about it afterward.

And the situation in New York being what it is, I am allowed to worry, and be extra cautious, and not hugging my friends, even though we and they have been in isolation for at least a month now. And I am allowed to feel upset when I see that the person I am living with, and consequently isolating with, is not respecting the rules we both have agreed upon since the beginning of our quarantine. And if I am upset, I am allowed to make my comments “in front of others”, and not in the cutest kind of way, because I don’t want to sound cute. I want to sound strict and angry as I am.

And yes, I hate to be fighting with the person I am spending the quarantine with, but I am not willing to back away from this matter. I am firm in my principles. I’ve decided I will be strict for the good of myself, my partner, my neighbors, and my city.

If that makes me “disrespectful” or “not expressive”, let it be so.

Previously published on Medium.com.

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