Social Distancing

Social distancing— the new buzzwords in a time of COVID-19.  There aren’t many good things to say about this corona virus pandemic but at least for some people the idea of some time away from crowds might not be such a bad thing.  You’ve seen the meme...

Certainly on a snowy weekend when everyone seems like they’ve all gone just a bit crazy, its nice to sit down by the fire and take some time out for spinning just for me.  But there’s a big difference between quarantine and social distancing. 

Avoiding large crowds, the cancelling of schools, conferences, and meetings is probably one of the best ways to slow the spread of the virus so that our hospitals and medical personal don’t get overwhelmed by a huge influx of newly exposed and sick. Optimistically, it may even be a way to decrease the number of people that might get infected.  Historically, it worked well for several cities in the 1918 influenza outbreak and hopefully will work well again. 

There’s a great article about this "Lessons on social distancing from the 1918 flu pandemic: St. Louis shut down public gatherings quickly. Philadelphia held a parade and saw death rates spike - The Star" and one of my high school classmates, Janelle Olberding, actually wrote a book "Butte and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic" which I had read several months ago describing the same choices and outcomes a little bit closer to home. 

Social distancing does not mean we all have to go into 100% lockdown, at least, as long as you’re not sick and under 14 day quarantine.  In fact, I had the wonderful opportunity to invite a friend over so she could learn to spin this weekend.  I’ve previously mentioned that I’m not the most experienced or best spinner there is, but I know a thing or two and I’ve been spinning long enough that I’ve actually had the chance to teach several people to spin.  In medical residency we often heard of the old mantra “see one, do one, teach one”  and while they don’t necessarily follow that any more and there’s usually quite a bit of practice involved before the “do one” step,  I do think many people are overly reluctant to teach, to share their skills in medicine or in layperson culture.   


Especially for female professionals there is the well known “imposter syndrome” or that feeling that even though the evidence suggests otherwise the person FEELS as if they can’t possibly be qualified for the position they have.  And of course if you feel that you don’t know a skill well, you’re probably less likely to feel confident in teaching someone else to do it.  As a doctor, I feel that way often.  I did well through medical school, I even have a couple classes that I finished with honors and no problems through residency or through the very early stages of my career.  I was promoted as expected through the military ranks commiserate with time in service and even had the chance to work as Officer-in-Charge of our Internal Medicine Clinic with the added responsibility of administrative supervision of several other physicians. My patient panel is robust with more people requesting new patient slots every day and often referred by word-of-mouth from patients I already see.  The curriculum vitae certainly suggests that I’ve got this whole thing figured out.  But there’s many a day, as I’m getting ready to walk in to an appointment to deliver bad news or discussing symptoms that don’t fit any diagnosis that I can think of when I certainly wonder if I really am doing everything that I’m supposed to be doing, am I really the doctor everyone thinks I am?  

I think it’s probably the normal for everyone to wonder if they really know enough about something to be able to teach it, to wonder if they’re playing the imposter and pretending to know something that they don’t. But, one of the best things about crafting is that it is such a sharable hobby.  Last weekend I hosted a group of friends at family and my house and we made bracelets with hand-made wire fittings. 


I’d been shown how and had done it once, before I decided to host a get-together and share the how-to. I’ll admit,  I did have a bit of a last minute panic session the night before as I tried to remember how to do it before everyone showed up the next day, but of course it went wonderfully and was a blast to see how everyone’s bracelets turned out.  And teaching Aurora to spin today was also one of those rewarding experiences. 

We started with a drop spindle to learn the drafting technique then moved to my Mom's old Forestville which makes for the perfect learning wheel and practiced how to treadle, and finally put it all together.  Of course she picked it up like a pro and, to be fair, not everyone does.  I love the lumpy-bumpies of learning to spin.  


There’s been times where I’ve had quite a bit more trouble trying to show someone how to spin, but she left with her own little mini skein of singles and was so happy to get the chance to learn a new hobby.  I was so happy to have avoided going to a parade (it got cancelled due to social distancing) and instead got to spend some one-on-one time with a friend, teaching how to spin with all the rewards that come from sharing some knowledge and a skill. 

1 comment

Laurie Leitz

Fantastic article! Many times I have participated in demonstrating spinning at local fairs feeling not up to the challenge. While demonstrating at the Spokane Fair event, a woman asked me if I would come to her home to help her learn how to spin on her newly acquired Schact Wheel. I agreed and we arranged an afternoon even though I knew nothing how that particular wheel worked. We had fun figuring it out together and getting to know one another. Months later she called me to tell me she had Cancer, but told me she loved the time we spent together with our wheels, and thanked me. This taught me a valuable lesson: It is not what or how much you know, it is caring enough to invest the time to connect with people that matters.

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