Stranger Days #10: #Arlington6At6

A chalkboard with Scrabble tiles that spells out "Stranger Days"

Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

Given that the national leadership has been weak (at best) around communication about how to best prepare and address issues around Coronavirus, I've been thankful to live in a state that has been taking it seriously for several weeks.  As important, I have appreciated living in Arlington, Massachusetts, which has been actively updating the community (often daily) for a while.  But also, they have been providing updates since late February.  

As we continue to see the impact of Coronavirus on our communities, especially the many shops and restaurants in Arlington, it's been comforting to see these updates come forward regularly and have a variety of positive and useful information to help people out.  Most recently, they began sharing out the #Arlington6At6.   

Here is how they describe it on their Coronavirus Information page:

Connect as a community, visually and virtually, each evening at 6pm.

6 Feet at 6PM is a community initiative where every evening at 6:00 p.m. Arlington residents connect safety (more than 6 feet apart). Come out of your homes or look out your window and wave to neighbors. Check in via email, phone, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or otherwise engage online. The point is to check in with each other at a safe distance – 6 Feet at 6PM - to make sure we are all OK as a community. We'd love to see examples in your neighborhood; spread the word, share photos and video on social media with the hashtag #Arlington6At6.

I really appreciate the intention and encouragement for folks to go outside, keep a safe distance, but also get to talk to their neighbors. Since we've been here in Arlington for less than a year, it's been a challenge to get to meet and know many of our neighbors. I've probably talked with three different neighbors in the last 8 months.  

Some of it is because we're in a neighborhood that feels filled with more family folks; some of it is because situations haven't afforded for us to casually meet folks, and some of it is from our absence of trying to cultivate connections in our neighborhood.  So when I saw this, I got a bit excited, thinking that this was an opportunity to meet new folks, make some friends, and get to know people around me a little bit.  Wins on all fronts!

On Friday when it started, I didn't have a chance to participate, but I did on Saturday. I appreciated it because I knew that in the evenings I could wander the neighborhood for folks sitting out on their porches and get to converse with them and learn a bit about my neighborhood and who occupied it.  

Another piece that I appreciated about this is the inclusion or consideration of folks on social media (or who just might not be able to come out).  I found that a few folks were posting to the hashtag "#Arlington6At6" on Twitter (myself included), Facebook, and Instagram.  

I hope that this continues for as long as this situation develops and that maybe, this becomes an increasingly normal thing for people to do even afterward as a means of meeting and talking with people that live around us. Many of us are guilty of this and I don't even like using the word guilty, but we get stuck in our patterns and the things that pull us away from our community and learning about the very people that are next to us. I wonder to what degree this event will bring communities together unlike what most of us have ever seen.  

Are you participating in Arlington6At6 or a similar program in your town? What are the ways your town/city leadership are trying to maintain and encourage community during these times?  What would you like to see them do (and are you willing to let them know or even lead the charge?)?

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.