Back when latte’s were had at gingham dressed tables and people didn’t step away when you stepped in. I’ve considered over the last couple of weeks, the beauty in humanities’ inclination to closeness.
Taking all of the necessary precautions, I was in town gathering groceries for my family today day when I came to the bakery. The kind bread man that we have come to know and appreciate approached me and stood from a distance as I recited my usual order of various sizes and sliced loaves of sourdough until some nearly involuntary step seemed to jump from my toes and forward, perhaps six inches closer than my previous post. He- possibly growing accustomed to this seemingly involuntary human instinct through his now experienced pandemic-baker identity stepped simultaneously back and away as though he anticipated my mistake.
In a matter of seconds, of course, the string of thought, emotion, sense and natural inclination that is our strange human existence emerged as a brief pang of confusion and sobered into a solemn, compassionate understanding. “Yes. Not too close.” What an exquisite fragment of our humanity— an instinctual, driving, nearly offensive need for togetherness. Introvert though I may be, how can I explain the inclination to step in— closer?