If you’re reading this, chances are that you are working in isolation. Social distancing — the euphemism that may become the word of the year for 2020 — is a lot lonelier that just keeping a safe distance from other fellow human beings. It is an inversion of our natural instinct (most of us anyway) to engage with people.

Only hermits are unfazed by the current health guidelines. In the internet age our most readily available substitute for human company is the online connection with the minds of others. The web has become a type of second home. Our phones have been filled with witty trash — even more so now as bored but imaginative self-isolators spend their time finding innovative ways of describing our predicament. Being healthy but underworked feeds another type of viral environment...

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