Our Senses Are Starved for… Everything

“For everyone, a great struggle in lockdown has been sensory deprivation. A life normally rich in texture and color is smoothed out into monotone sackcloth.”

Every line of Tobias Stone’s beautiful essay in GEN on our collective sensory deprivation during the pandemic tore me open, making me realize I was missing things I didn’t know I had lost. Yes, human interaction and touch, but also the sounds of a bustling city “that formed the backdrop of our days and nights,” and smells wafting from restaurants and strangers and even cars we pass on the street. “The air is just the air now […] it is pleasant, nicer than before, but uniform.” Also gone: laughter, sensuality, and surprises. “Serendipity doesn’t thrive in a time of fear, control, and isolation,” he writes.

But the good news is Stone says our senses are dormant, not dead. They are hibernating, waiting for the pandemic to end to reawaken, when we will “eat, drink, laugh, hug, scream, sing, run, dance, and crash into each other, love like friends, love like lovers, and love like strangers.”

I can’t wait.

Health and science writer • PhD in 🧠 • Words in Scientific American, STAT, The Atlantic, The Guardian • Award-winning Covid-19 coverage for Elemental

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