I’m not sure I ever imagined it would come to this, writes TonyM. Will life approach normality again? In the late sixties as a teenager I read Isaac Asimov’s science fiction novel The Naked Sun.
It is about a detective investigating a death on the planet Solaria where people are taught from birth to avoid face to face contact.
Communication or “viewing” is via holographic two-way teleconferencing. You can see each other but you can’t touch.
So here I am more than 50 years later on my very own planet Solaria – in Ladywell – courtesy of Covid 19 and the government’s lockdown.
My life is increasingly lived online.
Yes, I run in the park but that can be disconcerting as I, along with my fellow runners and walkers, take evasive action to maintain a social distance.
Over the last few days I’ve participated in a Ladywell Live discussion about low paid hospital workers, using videoconferencing company Zoom.
I celebrated my birthday with the kids over the Houseparty app – their idea. It works after a bottle of red.
I survived a two-hour adult education lesson in Spanish (intermediate) – again over Zoom. It was stressful. I was cut off twice and the camera on my Ipad would not work.
Did Solaria have that problem?
Finally I managed pilates. I should have been at the Brockley Adult Learning centre – instead I was in my living room, carpet and furniture removed.
It worked but my teacher was silhouetted against her bay window so I could not see her face.
And my Ipad was propped precariously on a chair so each time I was on the mat I would disappear from view.
“Tony are you still there? We can’t see you.”
I’ve resisted online grocery shopping after briefly visiting the Ocado website and finding I was number 1,437 in a virtual queue. Life is definitely too short for that.
Elijah Baley, the detective in The Naked Sun, eventually insists on face to face meetings to solve the crime – and who can blame him.
But will we just revert to face to face meetings once the great lockdown is over or will many of us prefer the social distancing of video conferencing?
Much of our lives and a lot of the economy has already migrated online – just think of shopping, and music, and then there’s banking and education. After this, almost certainly more of it will do so in the future. Solaria here we come!