Touch

What does touch mean to you?

To have two objects, regardless of animation, placed next to one another. To reach out and utilize parts of your anatomy upon a noun; a person, a place, or a thing. To make the most of one of your five senses, even if your remaining four no longer work. To touch is to feel, to feel is to think, to think is to know, to know is divine. To have and to hold.

In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine reaching out to touch someone, or to even “touch base” with them. To not be able to have a therapeutic embrace with a friend, a loved one, a family member due to governmental contact restrictions and fear of the medical unknown. To be denied an intimate meeting of two pairs of puckering lips because of a face mask that separates both of them. To not be able to feast upon the psychic energy field of a person due to them having to be at least six feet away from you in a public setting, leaving you and millions like you in a sort of famine, being deprived of basic human necessity; a global kinesthetic “Holodomor,” if you don’t mind me saying.

What does touch mean to you?

As I put the tips of my fingers onto a keyboard to compose this blog post, the keyboard radiates a gentle heat, but a heat with a low frequency and reach. The heat from the keyboard does not satiate the rest of my body with this gentle heat. No sustainable comfort or healing can be wrapped around me from the keyboard, at least not the way a warm blooded animated object can. I am so grateful for Chance, my neutered Bombay feline. He gives me the comfort and love as only he can. However, Chance is not a subsitute for a human being.

Living alone while in a pandemic has its own unique challenges, although I will say, I don’t know what it’s like to live alone as a neurotypical. Living alone as an autistic in a pandemic is strange in that, I can do without having to be around people for a lengthy period of time. But with mostly all things, my threshold to withstand a lack of human energy in close proximity has nearly disintegrated. Before, the outside world was experiencing what it was like to live like me. Now, I am experiencing what it is like to live like the outside world.

I am now in need of human touch.

Yeah, it does look dirty on the surface, but hear me out: I miss going to synagogue for Torah studies and Friday night services, to soak in the presence of various human energy fields. I miss sitting next to someone to debate the merge of current events with the Torah portion for that week. I miss hugging the rabbi whenever we greeted one another. I miss having dinners with some of the congregants.

What does touch mean to you?

Apparently, this is quite the norm nowadays, as millions of people are feeling the exact same way as I do. But I will be the first to admit: I did not see myself actually missing being able to touch another person due to this pandemic. I still reach out to folks via various platforms, like Twitter, Google Duo, Zoom, and text, and doing so keeps me in the loop with what people are doing and how they are handling their unique situations. However, not being able to meet up with them, to greet them, to sit next to them, to laugh with them, to cry with them, to wrap an arm around them, to hug them, to kiss them, to butt heads with them, to touch them – to touch – leaves a hole the size of the Grand Canyon in my soul.

And if that feeling resonates with me, a pain in the ass autistic, I can only imagine what that feeling must be like to someone who is not.

Some places around the world got smart and their communities were able to get their shit together. Now they’re living lives post-pandemic; being able to mingle with and around people without fear of ending up in a hospital bed with a ventilator mask on your face. In Italy, a small group of people came up with a way for family members can “touch” their loved ones who are, basically, trapped in nursing home facilities. And then there’s the United States of America, where at one point a dickhead despot-wannabe caused so many people to needlessly die from COVID-19.

I could only imagine the heartbreak my baba had in her final days; with me not being able to see her or to touch her one final time. Too many families had to experience that type of unimaginable loss. I guess my crave for touch is the result of having to deal with the loss of the only immediate family member who loved me for me with no other humans to literally lean on to.

Now with the vaccine distribution in full force, I will have to wait until I am eligible to get a jab. It still sucks canal water because I will have to go without touch that much longer until either I get a jab or two, or the pandemic officially ends.

What will touch mean to you once the pandemic is over?

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