Once a week or so, when we can both fit it into our schedules, my neighbor and I go for a walk with her dog. It’s a way for us to get some exercise and the dog loves it, but it’s also just time where we can talk about pretty much anything: from our lives, to something we read, to upcoming events in the community, pretty much anything. It’s great having someone you trust who engages you with intelligent conversation.
During our most recent outing she made a comment about a cooking reality show whose name escapes me. Apparently the contestants are sequestered for three months while the show is taped to prevent outsiders from discovering the results. One of the contestants was being interviewed after the fact and she mentioned that one of the hardest parts for her was the periodic massage that was offered. They impacted her so hard that she actually would break down crying. Why would anyone start crying during a massage? She said it was because those massages were the only human contact that she had during the entire three months she was on the show.
At that point the conversation with my neighbor shifted and I didn’t really give this chef’s strife any more thought, but in the days since I realized that I almost never have any physical contact with anyone. I’m not talking about intimacy, I mean any at all. Hugs, handshakes, pats on the back. You get the idea. I’m not sure how common that is for other people, but now that I’m aware of it, I feel that much lonelier.