Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

My Social Distancing hr629

on April 11, 2020

I’m not good at being with people by nature. I always like to being alone and stay inside my room. Basically, any contact with others is uncomfortable. Not to mention phone calls, public places are dreadful for me unless they are near empty with few people. I hate to have a person standing right behind me at the checkout counter in a supermarket. Whenever I take a train, I search for a car that has the least passengers. My so-called ‘body bubble’ seems excessively large. I often almost utter a scream when a person bumps into or even slightly brushes me. Needless to say, chattering with others is excruciating. My apartment building has a communal spa for the residents and I use it everyday. The residents are inevitably acquainted with each other and small talk between them is rampant in the spa. I’m often caught up in it and desperately try to find closure of the conversation by sweating all over. To avoid an ordeal, I’m usually careful not to share time together with familiar residents as much as possible. When I see them, I practically run away. My partner calls me a robot because of my behavior.

black crt tv showing gray screen

Photo by Burak K on Pexels.com

The time of recent social distancing shouldn’t bother a person like me. Social distancing has been already my thing for a long time. At least I had believed so. I had thought it wouldn’t hurt a natural ‘social-distancer’ as myself. But I found I was wrong.
One of my favorite Japanese comedians from my childhood was infected with Corona virus and was killed by it in a matter of days. Until just recently, he had appeared on various TV shows and his funny face had been the norm for TV. The daily TV time in a Japanese living room has changed suddenly, completely. He was a nationally popular comedian who earned the monstrous TV rating. When I was a child, my family gathered in front of TV for his show at 8 p.m. every Saturday and laughed so hard together. Kids at school would talk about the show next Monday and laugh again together. When I was in my early teens, I danced his signature gig called ‘Mustache Dance’ so frantically in the dining room that my foot slipped and I fell hitting my face on the dining table. Those memories made me feel as if part of me was lost with him by his death.
Among my familiar residents in my apartment building are a mother and her daughter. They are athletes and rough, thudding around restlessly and talking loudly in a vulgar tongue all the time. I heard that they were moving out soon. Since I was bothered with their noisy manner and pushy conversations toward me at the communal spa, I felt relieved that I could reclaim the quiet bath time. One evening during the days I had waited for them to move out, I saw them at the spa. They left for the locker room while I was still in the bath and I intentionally took time in there to avoid meeting them at the locker room, as usual. After giving them enough time to clothe and go home, I stepped out to the locker room, assuming they were already gone. On the contrary, they were still there, standing side by side courteously toward me. They had been waiting for me. The mother told me that they were moving out tomorrow and this would be the last time to see each other. She said politely, “Thank you so much for all these years. You helped us in various ways.”
I had known them since I moved in nine years ago. The daughter was still a small child back then, who was running and shrieking around the locker room. She is to be a freshman in high school this spring. She occasionally talked to me about her school days or her passion for skiing. The mother once broke her foot at her workplace and she had been on crutches in the spa. I got out of the tub to open and hold the door to the locker room for her every time until she stopped limping. When we were late together at the locker room that went black after the spa’s closing time, we would clothe together under the light of my pocket LED lamp. Those memories flooded back to me all of a sudden at the last time I saw them although I had thought it would evoke nothing as I had been looking forward to getting rid of them. While I was looking at the daughter’s liquid eyes that were staring straight at me, I was overwhelmed by inexplicable sadness and my eyes began to be filled with tears in spite of myself. I clumsily said goodbye and returned to my apartment. A robot couldn’t say goodbye well.


37 responses to “My Social Distancing hr629

  1. This is so sad and beautiful and really well written Hidemi, I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for following me and I have followed you back. Take care x

  2. kirizar says:

    I am interested in seeing the famous ‘Moustache Dance’ perhaps you would be so kind as to either add a link or name the famous Japanese comedian?

    There have been many deaths in the recent days as a result of the Covid-19 virus. It is hard to grasp all that is lost or may potentially be lost. We are all now learning the importance of being able to distance oneself and stay sane. Perhaps you have suggestions for those of us who are more social by nature. Some days, I want to scream just to hear another voice bouncing back from the walls.

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Thank you so much for reading my article and commenting on it. I always believe that non-life things, I mean anything around you, also have sort of spirit. They are watching you. That feeling helps me keep from loneliness. The Japanese comedian’s name is Ken Shimura. I’m adding the link to his ‘Mustache Dance’ that I found. I know it won’t meet your expectation, but the move was funny for a child I used to be.

  3. cat9984 says:

    What a sweet story. It’s funny how interconnected we all are, even when we don’t mean to be. Your good-bye was great. Pure emotion is better than words in a case like that

  4. Very well written. I relate very much to being a natural social distancer, but also still loving people.

  5. K E Garland says:

    I love this. You’re a great storyteller.

  6. theburningheart says:

    You sound like an INFJ character, maybe you already know it, if not check Myers-Briggs test.

    Keep safe, and best wishes. 🙂

  7. LIFEINXXI says:

    Wow! I was deeply touched by your story.. all of it. Very interesting how this #socialDistancing time guide us to look even deeper inside.

  8. petrel41 says:

    Congratulations, Hidemi!

    I have nominated your blog for the Real Neat Blog Award.

    More about this nomination is at


  9. I’m introverted and social distancing is difficult for me!

  10. Welcome to that little voice and thank you for following my blog.

  11. Jess says:

    This is such a powerful piece, I can completely understand. You are definitely a human, not a robot, and this comes through in your connections with other people, even if you avoid conversation or crowded places. I wish you the best, stay safe!

  12. Touching and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Ti says:

    I am one of those people who can be very social when needed but I prefer to be a homebody. Until this quarantine. Now, I am very tired of staring at the same four walls. It has been nice to slow down though. My schedule was a bit out of control in 2019.

    Stay safe. My city is opening up probably two weeks from now. We really aren’t ready but financially many are struggling so no one is following the guidelines anymore.

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Take this opportunity to rest and recharge yourself. My town has opened up just today although it has had zero case. Stay healthy, and thanks for your comment!

  14. Called by to leave my thanks for your recent decision to follow Learning from Dogs. Thank you!

  15. da-AL says:

    so beautiful. we’ve all been there, I suspect. surely I have too often. every time I’ve moved, over the days before, I’ve regretted not getting to know my neighbors better…

  16. I like the way you write. You have a way of drawing your reader into your story/experiences.

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