Are you doing ANYTHING now that’s not related to COVID-19?

Today's headline of the day.

Today’s headline of the day.

I’m not. Even when it’s something I would normally do, the way I do it is affected by the pandemic.

I’m still going in to the office (for now; I might work from home tomorrow), but everything I do there is about the coronavirus. Starting last week — I’d say from Thursday morning on — all I have done is assist clients with virus-related communications. I’m writing press releases, social media posts, eblasts and the like telling people who normally interact with these clients things they need to be told relating to the pandemic. Closings, cancellations, or how to continue to do business remotely.

Even blog posts I’m writing for clients’ websites are about the coronavirus, and how it’s affecting that particular client’s industry and so forth.

My personal life is the same. I just came back from a lunchtime trip to the Five Points Food Lion to see if they had some items I was unable to find at the store nearer my house, on account of hoarding. (They did! And no, I’m not talking face masks or hand sanitizer. Nobody’s got those. This was some frozen vegetables I was looking for.)

My daily walks (got to get in those 11,000 or 12,000 steps a day) may look the same outwardly, but I’m listening to podcast about, you know, the pandemic.

When I go to check on my parents, I wear a face mask. And I urge them to stay in, and let me go out to get whatever they might need.

Pretty much all conversations with the rest of my family have to do with this or that detail of our new mode of life. And checking to make sure folks are OK.

We didn’t go to Mass this past Sunday. And now all Masses are cancelled. Don’t worry, the bishop has granted dispensation.

Anyway, how about you? Does your life in any way retain any normalcy?

15 thoughts on “Are you doing ANYTHING now that’s not related to COVID-19?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    From our friend Phillip:

  2. Bill

    Is the “cure” worse than the disease?

    “If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR tests, the number of total deaths due to “influenza-like illness” would not seem unusual this year. At most, we might have casually noted that flu this season seems to be a bit worse than average. The media coverage would have been less than for an NBA game between the two most indifferent teams.” JOHN P.A. IOANNIDIS

  3. Mark Stewart

    Didn’t think about it at all until I walked into a lunch spot at 12:30 pm. The chairs were upside down on the tables, no one was inside, and the cook was sitting on a stool.

    Then it hit me… And going to the bank was also a quaintly old-fashioned thing to do I found.

  4. Norm Ivey

    The school has been eerily quiet the last couple of days. Teachers are in their classrooms preparing for e-learning. Even our faculty meeting was held using Google Meet. Most rooms had only 3-4 people at most. Every work-related conversation I have is about how to manage some aspect of e-learning, from delivering content to students to getting functioning equipment into the students’ hands. I’ve noticed people purposely standing further away from me. Two Notch traffic is definitely less gnarly. I even put together a playlist for the interim.

    (If the link doesn’t work, I’ll post the list later.)

    Pandemic Panic Playlist

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Thanks for the playlist, Norm!

      That’s the kind of initiative we need from citizens at such a time!

      For my part, I’ve haven’t gone any farther than the line from “Come Together:” “Hold you in his armchair, you can feel his disease…”

      Irrelevantly, I’ve had this Young Rascals song as an earworm the last couple of days. I guess it sort of relates to our interactions with each other, right now: “How Can I Be Sure.”

      It sort of got into my head through a back door. Working out a couple of days back, I was watching an episode of “Life on Mars” (I recently signed up for Britbox just so I could see that whole series again), and there was a scene with this playing in the background. My subtitles told me it was David Cassidy! I instantly thought no way; surely HE was not responsible for that song.

      And of course not. It was the Rascals, in 1967. But Cassidy recorded his cover in 1972, and shortly after that it was a #1 hit in England and Ireland. Since “Life on Mars” is set in Manchester in 1973, they naturally used the Cassidy version.

      But it’s the Rascals version I’ve had in mind:

  5. Norm Ivey

    That’s the kind of initiative we need from citizens at such a time!

    Always glad to do my part.

    You hit a nerve, though. Last evening my bride asked how I could be so calm about it all, and she’s right. I’m concerned, cautious and curious, but unstressed. I feel a bit guilty about how this is playing out for me personally. The sacrifice asked of me is hardly a sacrifice at all.

    My bride is working entirely from home and I am working mostly from home or in an isolated location at school for the foreseeable future, so we have more time together. There is no impact on our income. My role in the building is to manage devices for students and to provide training to teachers. In many ways, our new normal has increased my relevance. My colleagues have always expressed their appreciation for my PD and training sessions, but now they suddenly need me. The device management aspect has been taken over by district techs, so that less attractive task is removed. We don’t regularly congregate in large crowds (except that I do like live concerts, and I will miss those for a while). We enjoy cooking and seldom go out to eat anywhere. We’ve got a jigsaw puzzle laid out on the dining room table. Our project list is going to get a few things crossed off it. We can work remotely from the cabins at Edisto or Table Rock state parks as well as we can from home, so…

    Don’t get me wrong. I understand the extent of what’s going on and the profound impact the pandemic is having on the world, this nation and our future. And there are some things hitting close to home. Our daughter in Nashville works for Marriott in a restaurant. The entire staff was laid off last weekend until further notice, and I’m worried for her. Fortunately, we have resources to help her out for a while, so she’ll be OK if we get through the worst of this by fall. My mother-in-law is in a high-risk group, and her chief source of entertainment is going out to lunch with her friends and reading books she gets from the library. She’s Internet-free, so no Kindle for her. How can we keep her engaged and her spirits up? My in-town daughter is pregnant, but working mostly from home for a while. I know I will be one of those people who eventually gets the virus, and I’ll be miserable (and make my bride miserable) for the duration.

    But overall, we’re just not feeling any direct negative impact from all this yet.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m like you, Norm. I’m trying to be as careful as I can to see that my parents don’t get it, but I’m mostly pretty calm about it.

      It’s actually kind of interesting, watching the world change.

      I hope it’ll change back, though. That’s why I voted for Joe Biden. The last three years have really been enough “interesting and different” to last me awhile…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Actually, one reason I’ve stayed cool about all this is probably the fact that as things have gotten worse on the coronavirus front, things have gotten wonderfully, fantastically better on the political front.

        We look at the coronavirus and marvel at how quickly our lives have changed.

        Ditto with the politics. It hit me that it’s still only March 18, and the South Carolina primary — the moment that everything finally started breaking right, started making sense — was the very last day of February. Just 18 days ago. Amazing…

      2. Norm Ivey

        I hope it’ll change back, though.

        But will it? I understand you’re referring at least partly here to politics. Every crisis or upheaval our country has experienced has left some sort of permanent mark on the direction of the nation and on most of the individuals who live in it. The Depression led to sweeping changes in the structure of our government and the lives of those who lived through it. Ditto with WWII. The civil rights movement made this country permanently more inclusive and tolerant (allowing we still have much work to do). The Viet Nam war and its aftermath created a permanent sizable segment in the citizenry that is reluctant to wage war. The environmental destruction and oil crisis of the 70s have had long-lasting effects.

        The sudden onset of this crisis and and the enormous immediate impact it’s having on society is also going to lead to some real changes in our nation and in our citizens. To me it’s exposed three things.
        1. You should never put people in charge of government who don’t understand governing or whom you can’t trust on some basic level.
        2. Knowledgeable, professional people like scientists and doctors tell us the truth for our own good even if we don’t like it.
        3. Our health care system needs some serious upgrades. I really liked the way Cuomo explained it. Our system is built for profit. There is no built-in capacity for dealing with something like this because there’s no profit in preparedness.

        So, yes, things are going to change, but I hope we don’t just go back to the way things were before the current administration.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I dunno, Norm.

          There may be some lessons being learned on your item No. 3, but Nos. 1 and 2 are not news to most of us, and it remains to be seen whether the people to whom it IS news will wise up as a result of this experience….

  6. Bob Amundson

    Any crisis provides opportunity for change. Our country, IMHO, has been heading for trouble for some time. When this is over, perhaps more people will understand the value of having the “best and the brightest” governing, both in the political realm and administrative realm. A high performing government focuses on protecting citizens (military, public safety, HEALTH CARE; not necessarily in that order) and providing citizens an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY (Education). I could go on, but I just reread the Declaration of Independence – an amazingly timeless document.

    Thanks for the thoughtful playlist Norm, and thanks for all you do to help provide opportunity to our future leaders. Thanks Brad for the song; music has always soothed the savage beast in me, and “How Can I Be Sure” is both beautiful and timely.

    I’m heading to MUSC tomorrow to begin the process of restoring vision in my left eye. It’s a long story, but I recommend retaining hope and seeking a second opinion when it seems all hope is lost. I am a bit concerned about the trip, but I’ve decided that the odds of being infected are lower than the odds of having some idiot driver run into me! And then there is the dream I had two nights ago about having my vision restored …

    For some reason Hill Street Blues comes to mind: “Let’s Be Careful Out There!”

  7. Bryan Caskey

    My law firm is still running, albeit with some modifications. I set up my paralegal to work from home, and that’s working out pretty well. Litigation has slowed down, but transactions are still taking place. People are buying, selling, and doing refinances on their property, so I am staying busy with that. For closings, I’m scheduling buyers and sellers to come in at different times so we avoid groups.

    If the courthouses and RODs close, then I may be totally shut down – not sure.

    Kids are out of school, so my wife and I are switching off on keeping them at home depending on work schedules. I’m sort of anticipating that school isn’t going to resume this spring. If we end up in a full shutdown, then I guess I’ll have time to get lots of home improvement tasks done.

  8. Barry

    I visited a customer in Sumter, briefly, on Tuesday. We did not shake hands. We sat about 8 feet apart. I used my hand sanitizer before and after my visit.

    Went by Jersey Mikes In Sumter for lunch. They were only allowing 5 people in at a time, and it was all to go.

    I had a Skype conference call with another customer today. They did not want to meet in person. It was a large organization but they were running a skeleton crew.

    Stopped by WalMart in Camden. Very few people. I didn’t get near anyone and used my hand sanitizer immediately after going back to my car.

    As of now, I have nothing on my work calendar for Thursday in terms of meetings. My boss understands. I’ll find some work to do cleaning up some old reports.

  9. Barry

    Our church youth group met online tonight. That was a change but it was great to see 20 something 6th-12 graders take the time to do it and listen to our youth pastor for about an hour.

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