Doing the Covi Avoidance Dance (the Covoid)

Watching ‘Grease’ recently, I realised I’ve been dancing most days over the last 10 weeks.  It’s a new dance.  It’s called the Covi Avoidance Dance.  Here’s how it goes.

Rules of the Covoid

In the covi period, the rules are:

  1. Everyone has to do it. All the time, away from home.
  2. Keep 1.5 metres apart from all dancers.
  3. No touching.
  4. Don’t stand for more than 15 minutes with anyone.
  5. Don’t sneeze, cough or blow your nose, ever, while dancing.
  6. Wash hands vigorously for 20 seconds before and after dancing.

My Two Main Versions of the Covoid

  1. The Walk

Leaving my front door, I reach the footpath.  I eye the footpath ahead, looking for people who are also dancing there.  I see a woman ahead of me, walking in the same direction.  I carefully assess how much slower he is walking (I walk fast) for when I have to attempt the ‘Overtake’ move.

I also notice a woman coming towards me.  She will have to pass the other woman first.  Then I can assess her ‘style’ on the main dance move – the ‘Pass’ move.  Will she leave the footpath to maintain ‘distance’?  Will she stop and allow the man to make his move?  Will she ignore the woman and just walk by, like we used to?  Will she smile, pass a comment or look down or away?

Here she comes.  She seems to favour a look-down, move sideways off the path, deferring, ‘Pass’ move.  We make brief eye contact, then quickly look away (part of the ‘avoidance’ dance name).  I want to smile, but realise it won’t be received well, so I walk past, impassive.

Oops, here’s a man coming.  No chance to assess his style.  We make eye contact.  I open the ‘Pass’ by smiling and saying ‘Hi’, one of my signature elements.  He smiles back, says ‘Hi’.  Great!  I feel happier as we pass quickly.

Now for the ‘Overtake’, as I’ve caught up to the woman ahead (lots more women dance, even though there are roughly the same number of men and women in the population…where do the men go?).  I realise there are actually two women, talking.  This is awkward.  There’s not room to maintain ‘distance’.  I pull out to overtake, glancing sideways in case they want to converse, but they don’t really notice me.

And so on, with each passing person.  I’m exhausted by the finish, but I’ve received some nice smiles and comments, I’ve kept to the rules, not upset anyone (though it’s hard to tell, as moves happen so quickly).

  1. Supermarket Shopping

I park my car, gather my bags, pull out my list and enter the supermarket, executing several ‘pass’ moves just to get to the door.

The ‘Door’ move is tricky.  Who got there first?  Who is older?  Who needs more space?  This requires eye contact or even sometimes an ‘After you’ comment and a smile to safely negotiate the entrance.

I take a basket.  (I don’t need many items these days.  Anyway I can always shop tomorrow again for exercise if I forget something.)  I consult my list, taking care to stand away from any moving shoppers.  Need to be efficient, minimise time.

I enter an aisle.  There are several other dancers there, generally observing the driving rules for movement (stay left).  But the aisles are narrow.  The ‘distance’ rule can’t be followed.  I carefully overtake a slow, meandering man, unfamiliar with the dance.  Ahead, I see two women separately eyeing me as I cross to their side of the aisle in the Overtake move.  I know they know I’m on the wrong side, so quickly move back left.

But the toothpaste I need is on the right.  I move opposite it and stop, keeping as far left as possible, waiting for the first woman to move past.  But she stops!  She’s looking for toothpaste too!  I do the ‘Wait’ move.  She’s entitled to go first, as it’s on her side.   She takes ages, but nothing I can do.

Now the other woman has reached us.  She wants to go through, to execute the ‘Between’ move and is very dangerous.  This is definitely covi-risk material.  Carefully she pushes her trolley between us, optimising the distances.  We all look away, pretending none of us are there.  Phew… that’s over. I get my toothpaste.

So it goes down the aisles.  Then comes the complex ‘Checkout’ move.  After lining up on the blue crosses/dots 1.5m apart, I perform the ‘Unload’ move myself these days.  The checkout chap performs the ‘Chat’ move (‘How’s my day?’  ‘What am I doing for the afternoon?’).  Shocked at this attempt to engage, I mumble something incoherent, while extracting my credit card for the ‘Pay’ move.  Then comes the ‘Pack’ move, where I’m very inefficient, bumbling around, dropping items, missing the bag, slowing up the whole dance.

Finished, I’m back into the ‘Door’ move, then more ‘Walk’ moves to the car, driving home alone to unpack, then washing my hands to complete the Covoid.

Does the Covoid Have a Future?

We’ve all been doing the Covoid for some time now. While we’re now quite good at it, no one likes it, but they say we may have to continue with it for some time.  But I do look forward to the days when the Covoid is gone and rock and roll, the slow holding dance and even line dancing are back.  They’re all more fun than this.


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