You know the feeling. You're out getting messages or getting some exercise and you see someone you know, someone outside your immediate family.
For a split second, there is a buzz of delight. This could be good. So long as you stay a social-distance apart and keep it brief, there are no rules being broken. It's just a chance encounter, but it has the potential to remind you of your 'real' life.
Then - and it has followed more swiftly with every passing week - comes the feeling of wanting to turn and run away from that familiar face.
Away from the awkward standing two metres apart. Away from the soul-destroying reality that they have no more news than you, nothing really to talk about. Away from the soul-crushing bouncing back and forth of the fact that this whole thing is mad, hoping that the other might be able to say with conviction that it will all be fine soon.
We crave people and sociability - but when faced with them, we can't cope. It's scary to feel our ability to socialise waning with the passing days - but we know we have to keep doing it, because if we disconnect entirely, how will we ever come back?
Part of the problem is that as the weeks have worn on, somehow we've become less convinced that the real world will come back and it will be OK again. We talk about getting back to normal, while we feel less and less sure of what normal is. We know, logically, that it will happen, but we're not sure we'll be socially and mentally fit for it.
Our sociable muscles are flaccid from underuse. Like losing physical fitness, the effort of restoring it seems daunting. What if we've forgotten how? What will we do all day when we're back in the world? Will we remember? Will we really go to all the places we miss? Will we have anything to say to the people we miss?
The longer it goes on, the more we're just not sure.
And technology fails to convince us any longer as a substitute. Increasingly, the tech interaction feels artificial, like playing at being personable, a closeness charade.
Last week, as we heard on the radio and within our circles about parties in people's gardens, front-drive play dates, more traffic on the roads, domestic building sites up and running, the WhatsApps and Zooms went relatively quiet.
"Where have all the funny videos gone?" someone on an extended-family WhatsApp asked.
Someone else told me that they'd left several WhatsApp groups in the middle of the night, after lying there thinking that the chat just wasn't cheering them up anymore.
They had the notifications turned off. It wasn't like the phone was beeping every five minutes, but when they looked at the phone, there was the growing number of messages and their heart sank.
It was nothing personal. It was just that they'd had enough of the tech. It wasn't cheering, it was wearing. It didn't make them feel more connected, it made them feel more alone.
Second-rate socialising sometimes serves to remind us how much we miss the real thing.
Early on in all of this, the notion of keeping ourselves socially fit for returning to normal drove the passion for our buzzing phones and iPads. Relationships could be maintained, sociability kept at a 'normal' level, if we explored avenues of contact that weren't actual, physical contact.
It was fun, while it lasted. Group chats and a glass or two of wine on a Zoom call. WhatsApp messages that tapped humorously into the flashes of homicidal rage at homework-shy kids and the endless cleaning that goes with everyone being at the house, all the bloody time. The pinging felt like lively conversation.
We felt connected.
By last week, however, Zoomhaustion was a recognised thing.
People had finally grown sick of the sight of others on a screen, sick of the sight of themselves up in the corner of the screen, their Covid-crewcut more straggly than they imagined, their dark roots more obvious. The mutual lack of news, making everyone frantically fearful of silence.
What have you been up to?
Our innate drive to connect and converse drove our wholehearted adoption of Zoom and the crazed message-forwarding that almost caused our phones to explode some days. We have run out of steam now. Not so much zooming as limping along.
The problem is, however, that we need to keep it going. We need to exercise the sociability muscle, we need to keep our relationships alive. We need to hang on, for dear life, to who we are in 'normal' time.
We also need to do it for the kids, who now face not returning to school until September or October.
We need to keep them talking, believing that the connections are worth maintaining, even if it's starting to feel like a drag. That's the only way we will manage to relocate that life and that person, swiftly, once we are out and able to mix again.
Last week's polls show that the majority are against leaving lockdown too early just to make us feel better, so we have to soldier on with the new sociability, even if it makes us feel sad.
That sadness seeps into everything and it does not serve us, as they say in the Zoom yoga classes. It's the going to the postbox in our slippers, wearing our house cardigan to the supermarket, choosing clothes on the basis of their softness, rather than how they look.
These things seem small, but they add up to a mentality where we're behaving like we're invisible or we no longer exist.
It's a dangerous place.
We have to keep talking, even when there's nothing to say. Let's not lose the connection.