I invited a few of my friends to share a dinner together Sunday night, each from our own homes. We had the same menu. We all made pasta and sides, then logged onto a video conference call.
We ate our matching meals, together, and it was almost like we were sharing a table, even down to one guest critiquing the other’s eating habits.
“Kathleen, are you using a spoon with your pasta?” John asked with a smirk.
“No,” she replied.
“That’s improper swizzling,” he taunted.
“I could, but I can swizzle without a spoon. I’m just that good,” she retorted.
After we finished our dinners, we sang an intentionally horrible rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Grace and cheered as she blew out her candles.
Then, we played an adapted version of a “What Am I.” I used cards from the Headbanz game. Each card has an item on it such as a fish or a bottle of ketchup. The person who is “it” doesn’t know what it is and has to ask questions until they can figure it out. It may be an elementary-level game, but it made for quite a few laughs.
After a little while, we almost forgot we were sitting miles apart. We were joking, telling stories and generally boosting each other’s spirits, able to see and hear each other in real-time, while talking about the virus that was keeping us from being able to socialize in person.
But it almost felt like we were sitting at a table together, aside from the different walls behind each of us and the inability to enjoy parting hugs.
When I asked what they thought of the experience, they all agreed that, considering the current situation, it’s a great solution.
“With all this mess that’s going on, I’ve probably been within 6 feet of about five people for a whole week,” said Kathleen Armstrong. “This is a good way to be able to reach out and socialize with people without having to subject yourself to contamination. This is safe.”
Laura Noel agreed: “I think it’s great. I think it’s better than I thought it was going to be when you suggested it.”
Noel said she knows people who are having a tough time with social distancing, because they thrive on being around their friends multiple times a week. This option, she said, would be a good one for them because they could still see and interact with their friends while “doing it this way is, of course, the safe way.”