Two of my coworkers are leaving the company. They organized a small get together to say goodbye. This is against the so-called code of conduct put in place to reduce corona infections within the company. This was outside though, in the Mauerpark, with people keeping a distance.
It was a beautiful summer evening. My first social event since Day 1, when spring hadn’t even really started. Despite the dates and numbers on top of these journal entries, I hadn’t fully realized how much time had past.
It felt unreal, seeing the people who had been reduced to thumbnail-sized pictures, fuzzy Zoom feeds and Slack messages. Somehow it was like being online with them, but seeing them with high resolution, full 3D avatars. Speaking without lag and reverb. We drank the same drinks. We smelled the same things. Actually, it was very normal. And still I experienced it as strange. Someone joked, ‘How does this work again, socializing?’ Which described just how I felt, so I repeated that to someone else later on. Almost nothing out of the ordinary happened, but I felt a tension because of that. Because it was not ordinary for me yet. Neither was it for many of them.
People were really sweet respecting the varying degrees of distancing others preferred. No hugging for me: I’m still at elbow bumps.