So, people started coming back. It’s time to see how people are going to react.
Today is the third session after the lockdown was partially lifted. And we’re in the second week in the current period. In the last two sessions things were going fairly okay – well, fairly okay. Anyway the new experiment was set to the next stage with around 20 people today.
Just to make clear the point that the rule is 1.5 m distance between any 2 people, although it’s also up to the basic understanding of everyone, since it makes little sense for people who are living together or see each other regularly anyway. Plus, while walking I don’t think it’s possible to make sure that there’s enough space between people all the time. It’s more like I wanted the people to be more or less careful and not do obviously wrong things like hugging, which was actually already openly ignored by some people last week. But anyway, those who have read my first announcement from 2 years ago must know that I strongly believe people can act properly following the global principles.
When I saw the people at the train station first, I was relieved to see that there was enough space between everyone. It looked super promising … until we took the train. As the S-Bahn we took had 4-seat compartments everywhere, people already directly sat together, with me obviously only one exception sitting alone. I was very uneasy in this moment.
Today’s route from Kettwig to Velbert was something I had planned for March. This was a relatively long one, which was meant to be partially a preparation for the weekend trip that we planned for the Easter holidays. While our trip got cancelled, there’s no reason to cancel this route, especially because the area around Velbert is actually quite nice, and after the first year it got somewhat rare to go to that area, so it might be a new experience for many people.
Going southward from Kettwig is a little bit strenuous, because like many places in this area, the river Ruhr is actually in a valley. Depending on how you get away, it is sometimes quite an adventure. The one we took today was decent enough.
But then as I had expected there was a large wheat field surrounding us. This is for me the typical landscape around Velbert and somewhat unique in this region. I often cycle in this area in spring, because the colours are the most beautiful around this time of the year.
It was also nice to see some of the people that I hadn’t seen since March or maybe even longer. April 2020 became the only one month that’s missing in the list of articles in the sidebar on the right. Who’d have thought that would happen when we were hiking the last time in March.
We had a break in Velbert, which I took a bit intentionally to make sure that there’s a restaurant somewhere nearby. There’s this half zoo in Velbert we every now and then visit. There were a lot of people there today, but there’s also plenty of space there for us not not to have to be worried about distances.
This, unfortunately, turned out to be true only in theory. As I found out there, many of us were simply paying no respect to the new rules imposed by the government (1.5 m social distance). What hurt me the most was the fact that the very ones not paying attention to social distancing were the ones that I’ve known for quite some time, not some total strangers.
By the time the break was over, I was so desperate and outraged at the same time, that I just simply left the group. For most of the second half, I was lost in my thoughts and walked mostly alone, not quite paying attention to my surroundings.
It is still important to point out that probably it was my mistake that after the hikes last week, I didn’t talk to the ones who already didn’t pay attention to the rules. And obviously today they were among those who didn’t follow rules. Probably I should have stepped on the brake after the hikes last week.
Then I talked to them, one by one, although I couldn’t talk to all of those who were not following rules. At least for the ones I talked to, I got rather good impressions. After all, this is all a learning process. And if I abandon them it will probably have no positive contribution to the society either. I guess it makes more sense for us to grow while keeping going hiking.
At the end of the hike, when we arrived at the train station, I gave an especially long speech, a quite harsh one. I’m pretty sure that we’re gonna have a lot less participants from next time on.
We’re living in a paradoxical period of time. There are social activities like MeToo movements or green wave, but while these are vastly global, what’s required is microscopic coordinated efforts. In this regard, what we observed today has a dark implication – we will probably also fail in other problems. Well, this one was just one session. Let’s hope that we’re gonna see differences in the coming sessions.