First there was the voice of God. Can you imagine that there was an actual time when the only way you knew what was going on was because God spoke to you? “Please wash your hands before eating the apple.” Imagine that in Morgan Freeman’s voice.
Then there were smoke signals, Morse code, the telephone, the television, computers, iPhones. (Okay, this might not be a historically accurate depiction of the history of communication, but I do not claim to be a historian — maybe slightly nuts, but not a historian.) Social media now rules our lives. I kind of feel bad for the old folks who don’t have smart phones (members of my family included, and they aren’t even the old ones) because how are they supposed to know what is going on? You only know what the weather is by opening your front door! You only know if the world has come to an end by opening your front door and falling into a bottomless pit (yes, that is how I imagine it…). Bear with me on this one.
Instagram is really cool. I can follow famous people and feel that I know them. But I also follow some regular folks and become over-invested in their well being. Let us take Matias, for example. A handsome young chap who went to the same high school with my boys, as I went to the same high school with his mother — well, different high school, but, still his mother. A couple of weeks ago, before social media became bombarded with how everyone is being quarantined, and perhaps the world is coming to an end, Matias posted an “Insta-story” about how he was locked in the luggage compartment of a bus in Israel. My paper had a small blurb about it from an Israel news station, but it didn’t mention the young man’s name. While Matias was trying to get his suitcase off the bus, somehow he managed to get himself locked under the bus, and he made a story while he was there, scared, but physically okay, and told his viewers how he had called the police and they were on their way, driving after the bus so they could pull it over and alert the dude that there was a guy stuck under it! The story had a happy ending, and he became a minor celebrity in Israel because, when you think about it, it is totally crazy that the bus driver didn’t know that someone was locked in the luggage compartment. (Gotta love Israel.) I was so worried about him when I watched the story after Shabbos had ended that I sent him a message. Of course, with the time difference, my message didn’t really help the situation. I just let him know that I was glad that he was okay. But this is how closely we can all be connected now — which I guess is a good thing when none of us will be able to leave our houses because of that stupid Covid-19 situation.
And then there is the negative side of social media. The overabundance of misinformation that leads people to buy every bottle of hand sanitizer from every store in every town, city, state, hamlet, and Costco. It is a good thing that I always have a stock of it (not that my adorable boys ever used it, but it was always there). With son #3 in Israel, social media gossiping amongst the parents has become a new fun thing to be a part of. Apparently, he is never coming home. They all must make aliyah because no one is letting them out of the country, or is it back into the country? And if they get back into the country, they need to be quarantined, but not in the dorm or in a hotel or… Or where? Who knows? Are they going to Poland? And if they aren’t, why aren’t we getting our money back from the trip? My WhatsApp group from the parents in Son #3’s school is constantly dinging, and I am always afraid to look at it, and when I finally do, there are 57 WhatsApps and I just show it to husband #1 because he is the calm one in the relationship. Just in case you hadn’t realized that up until this point.
Perhaps it is better if we all turn our phones off, wash our hands, and just patiently wait for the next exciting news cycle. Or should we wash our hands before we turn off our phones…. Let me go look that up.
Stay healthy everyone!!!!!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck wins the daughter-in-law of the year award because she is flying husband #1 to visit his parents in Del Boca Vista.