People and Places
28/04/2020
COVID-19 and the art of keeping connected

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Let’s face it, Mornington Peninsula people are social creatures. Whether you hit your favourite café for a cup of joe in the morning after the kids have gone to school, meet the team at one of our exceptional eateries, or sit back with a glass of world-class vino while drinking in the scenery at a winery, out and about is where it’s at. Or was. 

Our world as we know it has changed rather dramatically within a very short timeframe, but my, human beings are adaptable. In our inherent need for comradeship, Peninsula residents have found ways to keep on connecting through online platforms just because they need to. They need to give and receive information and conversation, and latch on to even one grain of understanding that we are not in this alone. And thank goodness the internet has allowed us to do that. Can you imagine what pre-internet social distancing would have looked like during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-19, when isolation and quarantine were applied erratically?

Our school-age children are currently safe and snug logging on to remote learning, while our medical professionals are keeping appointments by video and audio conferencing, and social catch-ups are continuing albeit it without the physical hugs. 

The girls are still getting together for a debrief and drinks via Zoom, while dinner parties are going ahead with gusto even though you may not be able to hear the clink of glasses or the clank of knives and forks hitting the plates. Or indulge in the aromas of other people’s culinary creations. 

Our art galleries have gone online and introduced virtual exhibition openings, while libraries are offering kids’ online story times and poets are live-streaming readings. Video dating has become more popular too. 

We are indeed some of the lucky ones. 

In extraordinary times such as these when there is no user manual to follow, the arts sector has led the way in ensuring we keep on keeping on. After all, what do we do when in isolation? We read books and magazines, listen to music, admire art, watch movies and play video games. We devour the arts to keep entertained and remind ourselves that the one common denominator we have in this is we are a social collective. We need each other. We need to keep interacting however we can, whether it’s online, tuning in to the telly or pumping up the volume on the radio, stereo or live stream. We continue to crave learning and to keep believing we will soon be hugging much-missed relatives. 

In the meantime, logging on to Skype or Facetime to chat with Nanna and Pa or keeping physical energy and mental health levels at an optimum with virtual yoga, exercise and meditation will have to do.

The way we live our lives has certainly morphed. Will it go back to the way we knew it before COVID-19? Who knows?  Do we want it to?

LIZ ROGERS

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