Chicken pox and loneliness
Whenever I read the word ‘contagious’ I think of chicken pox and the summer I spent scratching myself stupid as an eight year old.
My younger sister caught it from a school friend the week before and I remember my mum telling us to keep close to each other in a bid to hit all thee kids at once.
And it worked. Before you knew it I was covered in Pinetarsol and ensconced in the shade of the back yard with a pile of books.
But as adults, a recent American study has shown, contagion becomes increasingly more complex.
Not only can we pass on a range of physical diseases to each other a group of scientists have found we are now also at risk of “catching” loneliness.
The ABC reported this week that according to the American research lonely people tend to ‘move to the fringes of social networks’ and by doing so sever ties with friends leaving them in turn also lonely.
Even neighbours of lonely people can often become lonely themselves just by observing another persons loneliness.
Considering loneliness is among one of life’s least appealing experiences, that’s not what you’d call great news.
But loneliness is not alone. I can think of plenty of things in the daily practice of life that we (perhaps un-intentionally) pass onto each other.
Here’s four. What would you add to the list?
1. Wedding proposals and pregnancies
I turned 30 earlier this year and have witnessed a tidal wave in the number of marriage proposals and pregnancies in the past 12 months. Do married people secretly ‘tag’ team each other as they leave reception venues?
2. Washing the car and mowing the lawn.
Admittedly I see this less now but growing up in the suburbs as soon as one person in the street got out the hose and bucket or lawnmower on a Saturday morning, you could bet within half an hour someone else would be doing the same.
3. Reality television shows
Ever noticed how reality shows creep up on you. I swore I would only watch one episode of MasterChef but got so consumed by all the discussion around me that 7:30pm weeknights found me without fail in-front of the television screen.
3. B-grade books that come in a series
Everything about that book screamed ‘don’t read’ to me but after working in an office where the book was on rotation around a committed fan-base - before I knew it I was turning the pages of the first two books.
Atkins, Low-GI, Gluten-Free. The list goes on. But as soon as one person admits to cutting a major food group from their diets it follows like a domino effect.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
Here we go. Former PM Kevin Rudd has remarked on Wyatt Roy's gay marriage shift (lower down): http://t.co/IPtsKLk4JE
@mj_lynch excellent pickup Martin. I stand corrected. Seems Dave Smith was "Dave" when he was a bwanker too
@mramsey37 I guess that's what everyone thought. I've been surveying MPs on it all week which is the only reason it clicked with me
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