Photo:

Getty Images/Historical Images

Who knew blockchain would make it easier for introverts to make friends? Although I barely left home last year, I did enough to fill a small cinema.

My wife joked that I should get a T-shirt that said…

Groucho Marxa.

the famous line Hello, I have to go. There was no social situation that I didn’t want to interrupt. A weekly lunch at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, which I visited before it closed. Other members who share my passion for magic meet in groups around convivial meals. I got some food, watched the show, and ran.

That was then. For the past 50 weeks, I’ve met some of the same people every Friday at the virtual lunch at the Magic Castle. And after years of avoiding people I knew as a kid, I started sending messages to those whose social media posts indicated we had common interests.

I even found a long lost family. The more memories we compare, the more skeletons we find in the closet, and the closer we get.

If there is a term for such friends, I have not seen it. I consider them my pandemic group. If everyone is sitting at home, you can reach people you hardly know. They’re not going to call 911 or even block you on Instagram. Worst case, they delete your post. At best, they become new friends.

Novelist

Viet Thanh Nguyen

It has recently been described that online courses have less human warmth but more human connection than face-to-face courses. Even when they are not in the same room, her students show an amazing willingness to participate, and her class is now reaching more and more people. The same goes for my band Pandemic, and I’ve become surprisingly close with some of them.

Some live clean in the world. After everything closed last March, I got myself together and booked an end of year holiday in Australia. When that was cancelled, my wife and I arranged video chats with a couple in Melbourne that we had met on previous trips and were eager to visit.

Since then, I’ve helped his son with a school project and sat in the parking lot with his mother while he got his driver’s license. All four of us have accepted that our elderly parents struggle with isolation. And when they disagree with America’s handling of the pandemic, I respond with stories of Australians who have gone too far, like the astrophysicist who ended up in hospital with magnets in his nostrils. He was trying to invent a device that would set off an alarm if he tried to touch his face.

Sometimes I feel like I’m throwing a big party for my Pandemic band in a year or two, when everyone can travel. I see it now. A mix of guests. Wandering magicians. Australian wine.

This is a party I’m going to love.

Glassner is the former president of Lewis & Clark College and the author of The Culture of Fear.

Wonderland: If we are on the road to normalcy today, it is not thanks to politicians and media personnel. We thank the medical staff who treated the patients and discovered the treatment in passing. And robbed the developers of vaccines. Images : Reuters/AFP via Getty Composite: Mark Kelly

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Published on the 20th. March 2021 in a print publication titled It’s a shy people party, who can ask for more?

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