Loving Three Things in My Post-Vaccinated Life!


Loving Three Things in My Post-Vaccinated Life!

I don’t know about you, but now that I’ve been vaccinated, I’m eager to return to normalcy on several fronts. Namely, these three things: sporting events, handshakes and in-person conferences. These are all things we took for granted in the pre-COVID world, and will, in time, take for granted again. They were taken away from us in the most sudden and traumatic way – with no real warning, they just stopped.

However, now we have the opportunity to experience many “first times” again, just like when we were children. The first thing I can’t wait to do is to attend a live sporting event, specifically, a baseball game. My family and I have attended games in 75 percent of the major league ballparks, and are on our way to visiting them all. And happily, we have begun plans, after a year with no fans, to check the Texas ballparks off our list this summer. There is no substitute for the smell of freshly popped popcorn, hearing the beer vendors deliver their stich or sinking into your seat (always in time to see the first pitch) and peering onto a perfectly manicured playing field. 

My lucky daughter attended her first post-COVID baseball game last week and reported, as I suspected, the thrill of being back in the stands. I’m ready!

The next thing I’m looking forward to doing again is delivering a good, firm handshake! I’ll never forget the first time someone executed the “alligator arm, then fist bump” maneuver on me last March. I didn’t know the gentleman well, but he was an early adopter of the “your hands could be covered in COVID” group. That gesture made me feel empty, unwelcomed and isolated. Fist bumps are for homerun celebrations, not proper business greetings.

There’s something deeply human about extending your hand or having a hand extended to you as a way to say: “I see you and I want to welcome you to my space.” It’s acceptance at its most basic level, and one of the most elegant ways to telegraph all sorts of information to the individual you are greeting. We were all taught at a very young age to extend our hands and execute a firm handshake as a way to announce our arrival. I’m anxious to return to the days when shaking hands, once again, becomes the norm.

I know some say we should end the ritual of handshakes forever. Not me. While it may be the best way to avoid future pandemic calamities, I’m willing to bet on my immune system, and my now maniacal handwashing habits, to carry me through the return of a proper handshake to greet colleagues and strangers. I’ve already begun to shake hands again post-vaccination, and it’s wonderful!

Finally, when I think about greetings and handshakes, I think about the prospect of six parking conferences in six months (or so) coming in the second half of this year. I can assure you, for at least the next year or two, I will no longer “dread” the prospect of setting up and tearing down a show booth. I will, like a child headed out on Halloween night, look forward to all the spontaneous interactions that will take place in between. It will literally be like “the first time” I stepped foot in a parking conference, eagerly seeing colleagues I’ve zoomed with countless times, but haven’t seen face-to-face for more than 16 months.

I will admit that Zoom did a remarkable job of keeping us all connected in a time when isolation was important for our safety. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it feels like something is missing when someone joins a conference call without video or elects not to turn on their camera. Exactly like a fist bump vs. a handshake. But REAL face-to-face interactions will take the cake once again by satisfying our deepest human instinct to look someone in the eye and express how good it is to see them. My bet is it will be transformative in our efforts to collaborate!

Alas, when we see each other at the show(s), I’ll look forward to gripping your hand firmly, while looking you straight in the eye with a welcoming expression and sharing notes on my family’s favorite ballpark (I’m headed to The Bank, see you in three hours!). These traditions were meant to be shared face-to-face with other members of the human race, and I’m as excited as a boy on Christmas morning to return to a time when seeing people, really seeing them in the flesh is the “new normal” again. Until then!

Article contributed by:
Brian Wolff
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