Once, before Coronavirus, shopping was one to be considered a pastime, to be done calmly, admiring the colors on the fruit counters, tasting with the nose, free from constraints, the aromas of bread and focaccia, choosing the products is based on the price to save money, carefully reading the labels with the aim of boycotting ethically irreproachable companies, looking in the cart of others to understand their eating habits, the lifestyles of the people around us, but today everything has changed.
In fact, we no longer have the freedom to do all these things nor the freedom to go and do them when we feel like it, but above all, this operation has become an anxiety-provoking experience, because, let’s confess, we are afraid of people. It is hard to think, but it is so. It is difficult to imagine how difficult it should be for those who still work hand in hand with others, forced by an economic system that pays more attention to the profit of the company than to the health of the citizens, but, on the only occasion, more the less free we are left to cross the others, that is, in supermarkets, the fear of the other becomes palpable.
As soon as the unmanageable cart overflowing with someone else’s food and supplies gets too close, we are led to veer sharply, to turn him on the other side, to turn his back on him, to try not to breathe his air, which is perhaps infected by the Coronavirus and he or she is not aware of it either. Only from afar can the eyes meet, because only the eyes remain free from the disfigurement of our face caused by the variety of masks available: they are astonished, incredulous, lost, intent on performing an operation to be concluded quickly because it has become a vehicle of contagion and therefore highly risky.
Fortunately, to overcome the fear of others, we fall back into the most congenial situation, we go home and breathe a sigh of relief, here we feel safe.
The walls of the house have become the way to overcome the anguish of a widespread danger, of a danger that is conveyed by the other, which is everywhere because it walks with the legs of those who are outside, whose frequentations you do not know, the displacements, even if they were brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, who live in other houses and on whom it is legitimate to doubt. The house, on the other hand, seems safe, at least from the infection of the virus, and it is nice to rediscover that home dimension, to finally live the affectivity in a full, prolonged way, committing oneself, as we now see everywhere in social and media, to prepare dishes together with children, playing, talking, finally accessing intimate distance.
There is interesting research on the interpersonal distance that go below in the name of proxemics, which analyzes the gestures, behaviors, spaces, and distances within human communication.
They distinguish an intimate distance of 45 centimeters, from a personal distance up to 120 centimeters, and then a social distance and a public distance; these are spaces that also vary on a cultural level, in the sense that there are cultures that greatly shorten the intimate one, such as the Arab one, and others that significantly expand it, such as the Japanese one, at least so the intercultural studies report.
Well, one of the consequences of the global spread of Coronavirus, which has now reached the whole world, lies in the fact that, by law, we have been forced to cancel both cultural differences and the differences between the various types of relationships, imposing an interpersonal distance of 1 meter, a circumstance that, in the long run, could also lead to redesigning and leveling human and social behavior on the entire surface of planet Earth.