THE OLD SMITHY, STAFFORDSHIRE – “Something very important, and indeed society changing, may come out of the Ebola epidemic that will be a very good thing: NO SHAKING HANDS!”

– Donald Trump, 4 October 2014

He was ahead of his time.

Funny thing, shaking somebody’s hand these days. Feels illicit.

You stretch out your hand in greeting, the movement of your arm almost unconscious.

Your acquaintance automatically begins to reciprocate. Programmed by thousands of past interactions, their brain begins raising their forearm to the 90-degree angle just like the manual instructs.

And then they pause. A freshly installed application in their brain – coronavirus.exe – has told them to stop. An expression of uncertainty suddenly falls across their face. You can almost see an egg-timer cursor appear in their eyes as mental disk space is suddenly allocated to processing an unexpected task.

Should I be impolite and decline the offer, they think… Try offering a fist/elbow bump instead… Or just shake their hand, risk infection and appear to not care about “the rules” in front of anybody watching? (more…)

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