I send this text to my neighbour in all capital letters because a full moon, orange and glowing, is hanging flat like a watercoloured disc pasted to the dark-blue sky. His apartment is on the same side of the building as mine, and live-texting is the only way to share a spontaneous experience these days.
I send another “Look at the moon!” message to a friend who lives at the other end of the city, and she bundles up and walks two blocks to see it, her response delayed by twenty minutes. My neighbour finally responds in the morning: “It was impressive.”
This is my asynchronous social existence. In precious moments at the grocery store, on the neighbourhood sidewalk, or in distanced conversations with friends, I notice, now, that people have depth and rotation, their eyes and foreheads more mobile and honest than they are on screen. For most of my days, people flatten and blur and chunks of them—ears, hands—often disappear into digital landscapes.
Three-dimensionality: I miss this most, of all the things COVID has taken away. Turns out it’s a skill one can lose by not practicing it, my sense of it atrophying, disintegrating along with my sense of time and memory of how other people smell.
What other dimensions have we to lose?
“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.”― Kazuo Ishiguro