I love people. I love to talk to people. I love to be close to people. I love to put my hand on someone when I have something important to say. I love hugs.
I do not love social distancing. I do not love COVID-19.
But I will do my part as a good human and member of this community and stay six feet away from everyone I see even though it is really awkward when you’re in the grocery store and you’re walking toward someone in the aisle and you’re not sure who has to pause in the background while the other person gets first dibs at deciding which box of cereal to buy. And I will stand at an inconvenient distance when I take a walk through a neighborhood and have to shout my conversation to a neighbor.
As much as we are staying home and staying in, there are times when we do occasionally run across another human being and we would like to express how happy we are to see them. I have learned that “Hooray! Another human!” is not really the best way to greet someone, only because that other human doesn’t quite know how to respond. (This has been learned from multiple firsthand experiences.)
For that uncomfortable reason, I’ve decided on a few greeting options to get me through my next encounter with the human kind. Feel free to use any of these options — they are social distancing approved!
The Hey There. This is a fantastic phrase to say at high volumes when you’re pretty far away from the person you’d like to greet. It has potential for great exuberance and excitement, which is probably how you feel when you see someone who doesn’t live in your house.
The Two-Handed Wave. Often mistaken for “No! Stay away!,” when accompanied by a big grin the two-handed wave is a wonderful way to remind yourself not to shake someone’s hand or give them that big hug you’d normally give when there’s not a pandemic. This gesture works great for someone you haven’t seen in a long time and using two hands makes it even more genuine.
The Double Point. Using two pointer fingers aimed directly at the person you’d like to acknowledge, The Double Point can also be used in conjunction with The Hey There. It is also easy to use with the last option, which happens to be my favorite.
The Hey Good Looking. No, this is not an invitation to sing a Hank Williams classic, it’s just a way to tell that person you’re passing by that even though they haven’t had a hair cut in weeks and is probably wearing pajamas, they still are something special.
We all are.