Low touch. High touch.
I was at a public park last week for an event and I had to use the bathroom. I have become so accustomed to automatic flushing toilets, sinks that turn on with the wave of a hand, and towel dispensers that respond to movement that I was caught off guard when I had to touch the toilet to flush, turn on water with a handle, and pull the towel out of the dispenser. I actually had to touch something, many things, to take care of business as it were. Weird, right? It’s not as if I have any of those automatic gadgets at home – everything at home is self-serve. Yet in public places it has become much less common to actually touch anything.
This got me thinking about other ways in which we “touch” less. Like the “virtual hug” I might send a friend via text. Or the “high five” I might offer over the phone to a colleague. Or the email that congratulates someone for a big life event with the words “congratulations (hug)”. No touch. Low touch.
Now what about the actual hug I offer my neighbor when she tells me her kitchen sink backed up all over her kitchen and she has a pile of dishes three feet high? Or the high five I give an acquaintance when he mentions he is buying his first home? How about holding a child’s hand when he is scared? High touch.
So I know a public bathroom is an odd way to try to illustrate this. (And I know that not touching the flushing mechanism on toilets or handles on sinks or towel dispensers ultimately helps reduce the spread of germs.) But I also know that there are a lot of other ways we are losing touch, not just in bathrooms. We are losing the hugs and the high fives and the physical connection with friends, loved ones and neighbors. And while I think it is great to have low touch bathroom environments I think it is equally important to have high touch relationships with people in our lives.
So if I were my own best friend I would remind myself to reach out to those I care about and offer hugs, hands, and connection. Remember that touch is one of the senses and it should not be used for touch screen devices only. It should be used for fuzzy blankets and puppies and holding hands of loved ones. Please go hug someone you love!