Brave new world?
Well, this has been interesting.
Like everyone else, I’ve been trying to navigate the strange environment brought on by COVID-19, the acute respiratory disease that originated out of China in recent months. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when the social atmosphere was quite like this; when there was a genuine concern that we were all going to get sick.
Sure, I lived through the Ebola crisis and SARS and MERS, but those seemed distant and mildly contained. The coronavirus is a whole new level, and with it, society has reacted in some unique and interesting ways.
This new “space” didn’t register to me until last week when the company I worked for issued a global mandate to work from home. That same afternoon, I went to Walmart to get some bleach to clean my hot tub. What I saw upon arrival was startling. While some rows in the grocery section looked perfectly normal, other rows (mainly those dedicated to paper and cleaning products) were decimated.
I looked for bleach and found nothing but one bottle tipped on its side with liquid dripping out of the cap. The rest of the shelves – normally overflowing with merchandise – were completely empty.
I witnessed other people coming into the aisle and upon seeing the lack of product, get visibly frustrated. One woman stopped and stared and then looked at me and said, “Great, the one time in my life that I run out of laundry detergent and there’s not a bottle left in the entire city.”
Over the next few days, people seemed to be more and more glued to the news. And the amount of texts I began to receive far surpassed my normal daily intake. It seemed like everyone had an opinion, but overall, two camps were forming: those who think the scare is overblown and those who think this is truly an existential threat.
I seem to be floating around the middle. I do believe that we have to take drastic measures to knock this virus out, but I also think the panic buying and end-of-the-world depictions are an overreaction. But what do I know!
In these types of situations, I seek out professionals. I’ve basically shunned the news unless there is a verifiable expert being interviewed. I don’t want spin, or glorification, or opinion. I want infectious disease experts to give me data and educated hypothesis. And I certainly take what my neighbor or coworker or family member says with a grain of salt.
I, along with the rest of my department at work, started operating from home on Monday. And I have to admit, my Monday morning routine was so much more peaceful and anxiety free.
Normally, when I wake up at 5:30 a.m,, my first conscious thought is, “Kill me.” I then drag myself out of bed and into the shower before making my tea, gathering my gear, and walking out the door to drive a half hour. It’s not arduous, but knowing that the weekend is so far away makes it somewhat painful.
I actually like my job, but after two days of weekend relaxation and calm, the stress of Monday morning is not the most welcomed transition.
However, this past Monday I woke up at 6:30 a.m., casually strolled into the kitchen to grab my tea, and then cozied up in my favorite chair to begin reading emails. I spent two hours fixing problems and shuffling documents before I finally got up to take a shower.
I then returned to my laptop to push out more work. Occasionally I would grab a snack or use the bathroom. My son was home from school, so I even had a chance to help him with an online assignment.
Before I knew it, it was 2 in the afternoon. I took a couple phone calls and sat in on an online meeting before ending my day around 4:30 p.m.
Looking back, I can honestly say that I got more work done without the distractions of my office. And not having to commute to our building was an absolute joy.
I’m not sure how long this quarantine is going last, but I’m kind of liking this new work approach.
Thankfully I got in a movie before they put restrictions on theaters. This week’s film, “The Hunt,” wasn’t worth the risk of contracting coronavirus (I’m not sure any film is), but it was an interesting idea.
Imagine “The Hunger Games” mixed in with today’s political climate if you want an idea what this film is about. It’s an interesting action/thriller that looks like it was made to politically agitate.
A diseased “C” for “The Hunt.”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at email@example.com.