Islanders Battle Online Over Social Distancing Behavior

An Island resident reacts after reading a stream of local social media posts discussing appropriate social distancing behavior.

Discussions on local social media forums reached a fever pitch last week as Islanders argued about how to behave in response to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.

“I am shocked and disappointed by the flagrant disregard that my Mercer Island neighbors are showing for the lives and well-being of others,” said Island resident and amateur epidemiologist Liv N. Fier. “Every day I witness instances of people congregating inappropriately in public places, failing to respect the Island-preferred fourteen feet of social distancing. If I can’t make them stop, at least I can post about it incessantly.”

“I’m sick and tired of local busybodies telling me how to live my life,” responded Island life coach A. Sal Fishman. “I know all the rules and guidelines and I have an Ivy League degree, so I’m smart enough to understand which ones need to be followed and which ones can be safely ignored. Let me worry about my family and they can worry about theirs.”

Experts in human behavior say that both of these perspectives are typical of affluent, suburban communities. “It’s hard to decide which of these is more on-brand for Mercer Island,” observed University of Washington anthropologist N. Ambos Lados, “Publicly shaming your neighbors for not following the rules, or deciding that those rules don’t apply to you.”

Despite the intense acrimony on display, there is one point on which all Island social media users vehemently agree.

“We can’t wait for the threat from the virus to disappear,” said Fier, “so we can go back to arguing about parks and the City Council.”