An overwhelming number of reasons exist to answer the persistent question of why we can’t have nice things, and chief among them is the slowly crystallizing fact that we just can’t follow the agreed-upon rules—even, or perhaps especially, during a literal global pandemic.
And the result, a bit like light encouragement for kids who can’t understand the rules in abstract terms: some 300 clearly marked, evenly spaced white circles, painted on the grass at the park to indicate exactly how close groups of three are allowed to be to each other.
If those circles are full when you get there, “come back later,” a spokesperson for the City of Toronto told Global news, “or access one of the other 1,500 parks that we have available across the city.”
To be totally fair, some people are staying safe and following the rules. In fact, many are finding ingenious and creative ways to physically distance, all while still having fun and lifting each other’s spirits.
And to remind you of that, here’s a list of such examples—beacons that prove we can, if we’re careful, have those aforementioned nice things.
The Euclid Ave. Dog Spotting Society of downtown Toronto
Like everyone else, Sidra Mahmood and her roommates — her two best friends— were bored. So, they assumed that, by the same logic, other people would be bored, too, and set out to find a way to make life right now a little less ... boring.
That’s why they formed the Euclid Avenue Dog Spotting Society: a group of Torontonians quarantining together that will rate your dog if you walk by their home, located on a popular downtown street.
“We have four dogs amongst us, so it just made sense to have an afternoon of spotting to cheer up folks in the area,” she told HuffPost Canada. “We just loudly cheered for every dog and owner, pretended to deliberate, then put up signs giving them all 10s. We got a ton of laughs. It was fun, and we’re making it a house tradition.”
Some reactions stood out to Mahmood.
“Some dude clapped and laughed for an entire ten minutes, which was pretty funny,” she said. “Other folks stopped their dogs and got them to do tricks for us!”
The ultimate grandfather-granddaughter dance battle
Not that this statement has at all been verified by a census, but it’s likely safe to say that we’re all missing someone right now. For six-year-old Kira, who lives in Tennessee, it’s her 80-year-old grandfather that she’s been missing—and even distance couldn’t keep them apart.
In a video shared to Facebook by her mother, Sherrie Neely, Kira has a physically distanced dance-off with her grandfather. The pair takes turns showing off their dance moves as the song “ABC” by The Jackson 5 plays in the background.
“Kira loves her Papa so much and they’ve now started daily ‘dance offs’ since the virus is keeping them separated,” Neely wrote in the caption for the post. “My dad is turning 81 years old next month and I’ve never seen him dance, but he’s really putting forth great effort and has some special moves.”
The impromptu balcony concert
Out in Barcelona, streets that are typically overrun with vibrant people have no been totally emptied out, as people have retired to the safety of their apartments that overlook the ghost town.
And to alleviate the boredom of the masses, one musician sat on his balcony and began to play a piano rendition of Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”
Then, another musician joined in.
“My first instinct was to get my saxophone and join him, because it was such a beautiful moment,” Alex Lebron Torrent told HuffPost Canada in March. He had never played the song on the saxophone before, but managed to improvise an accompaniment on the fly. “The pianist and I don’t even know each other. I didn’t know there was another musician living down the street. It was just instinct.”
The physically distanced ‘junior prom’ date
Prom, just like everything else, has been cancelled. There will be no close dancing, no prom kings and queens, no drinks being accidentally spilled on suits or dresses.
But Curtis Rodgers, a seven-year-old kid from North Carolina, didn’t want his nanny to abandon all hope. Instead, he invited her to a physically distanced backyard prom that he arranged himself, so that she wouldn’t have to miss out on her prom night.
The driveway DJ
Music, it would seem, has been one thing keeping many of us sane, and every night since the pandemic began, Liz Falconer has decided to play the role of neighbourhood DJ, just to keep everyone in good spirits.
Every night at 7 p.m., she sets up a large P.A. system on her front porch and begins to play her music. It’s a custom playlist that she made in the hopes of appealing not only to the five year olds, but also the 85 year olds.
“I try to cross as many decades as I can in the 30 minutes,” she told CTV News.
The neighbourhood often comes out into the street to watch, and Falconer even has special musical guests sometimes, as other talented neighbours come out onto the block to play their music, too.
The simulated concert experience on Instagram Live
Lots of artists have started to perform on Instagram Live to keep people entertained. In this case, Swae Lee, one member of the group Rae Sremmurd, brought a fan “onstage” so they could have a concert-adjacent moment together.
The ‘Happy Birthday’ parade
Celebrating your birthday during a pandemic — as some Aries, all Tauruses and a few Geminis have now come to learn — can be kind of challenging and, at worst, disappointing.
But for one 11-year-old girl, her birthday was everything but that. She didn’t expect to see her friends on her special day, but she was shocked when they all showed up in their cars to wave and honk their horns and wish her well.
“I texted the moms and asked if they would do a drive by the house. They all agreed right away and it made Alexa’s day, and it truly made our day,” the girl’s mother, Karina Chaikin, told Storyful. “It’s so nice to see how we truly are all in this together.”
Happy birthday parades have become quite a popular manner of celebrating during the pandemic, and it doesn’t look like there will be less of them
any time soon.
The Burger King royal fashion statement
In lieu of, say, painting circles on the floor in their restaurant, Burger King in Germany has been handing out enormous, six-foot crowns to limit how close people are able to get to one another as they reopen dine-in service.
It’s like a walking personal space bubble, handed out in select restaurants that act as a “playful way to remind our guests to practice social distancing while they are enjoying the food in our restaurants,” a Burger King representative told Business Insider.
The nightly porch concerts
Every night since the first in March, a Toronto family has been holding a concert on their front lawn in the Annex. The musicians get together at 7:25 p.m., instruments in hand, and begin to play together against the backdrop of a thank you note for front-line workers.
The band, for the record, calls themselves Horn on the Cob and the Social Distance.
“You know a lot of days, it’s the highlight of the day,” one neighbour told OurWindsor. “We all go back inside feeling a little better.”
The joyful curbside family dance party
Not unlike the Tennessee grandfather and daughter, this Maryland family has found a way to be together: a physically distanced curbside dance party.
Alisa Hyman, a freelance writer and editor, lives down the street from her mom and dad, and frequently drives to check in on her parents, who are 83 and 74 years old.
The purpose of these check-ins is to see how they’re doing—on this occasion, they just wanted to dance.