New Etiquette for the New World
A pandemic caused us to behave differently while wondering which or what of the old ways we may keep. One of the first things to go was the handshake.
You know, that thing the ancient Greeks developed to show an approaching stranger you are not armed and can be trusted. That thing young people had to practice so they can do well on job interviews. Firm, but not too firm. Spirited, without being too energetic as to cause a concussion. There you go, just right.
Apparently, it isn’t anymore. Neither is the elbow bump, that touching of the very place we’re instructed to cough into. The Far East’s light head-bow with hand on one’s heart (I always found this elegant and touching) is one fine new way.
There’s also new etiquette for virtual gatherings, a la Zoom and such. There’s new etiquette for how to walk on the street. Hence, there are new requirements for storytelling. Movies shot before look downright historic.
It’s hard to know how much will stick with humanity for the longer run. But considering how long we’ve kept the handshake, (well after the knife-in-hand lost its prevalence) it’s likely we’ll have a few new etiquette rules added to our collective vocabulary.
A friend made the observation that in her childhood she used to ask her mother why grandma saved every piece of string.
“Grandma lived through the Great Depression,” her mom explained.
Someday, our grandkids will ask why Grandma wipes grocery bags with bleach, and our kids would explain that we lived through the Great Pandemic.
Storytellers are watching, and everyone is learning.