Saturday, 28 March 2020

Human behaviour: the kissing has to stop.

I never watch Coronation Street but it was on tv in the minutes before a programme I really wanted to see. In this time of Corona it’s funny how hitherto human behaviour can seem like a scene out of Star Trek: The Original Series. One episode had humans locked up like animals so their behaviour became snarling, biting and grabbing. Another episode was set in medieval ( England?) and lutes were playing while an amorous suitor hid behind a tree waiting for his lady. All were different types of human behaviour and in the latter, anachronistic to the 20th and 21st centuries.

I remember one of the Trek pilot episodes where some ‘humans’ had evolved not to speak through their mouths but just by transmitting words from their brains. Very advanced human evolution. But now, as I watch The Street with the sound off, I notice folk standing close and chatting to each other in The Rovers Return, stopping at each other’s front doors and shaking hands. Or sitting together in the same room. Sacre Bleu! 

‘No,’ I cry. ‘You can’t do that.’

We’ve only been practising social distancing for a week. Hugs, kisses and smiles seem like human behaviour from another age. In the distant future in the film ‘Logan’s Run’, where no-one lives over the age of thirty, people exist in a bubble: a manufactured city totally enclosed from the air or the natural environment. Is this what human life becomes? Living inside our own little bubble? 

There’s enough material in our current self-distancing and self-isolating behaviour to write a sci-fi novella or a morality tale of what happens when a serious virus escapes into the population. And how helpful people can become while others might be out on the make.

We’ve only been in purdah for just under a week and it might be an idea to keep a diary of thoughts, behaviours, feelings and even changes in weight, sleep patterns, eating habits and such.

There’s a wealth of scientific data just waiting to be culled for research or for the wordsmiths. It might just be a time of opportunity. Meanwhile enjoy Coronation Street or whatever brings you joy, do what you can, stay well, stay active and stay happy. But, to quote Robert Browning, the kissing has to stop. 

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