Here are ten casual observations from the past ten weeks
1 — Kitchen tables are now being used more than ever as pseudo-offices instead of for puzzles, homework, and once-in-a-blue-moon family gatherings. While some may have home offices, they seem to be occupied by partners or kids, so many new to working at home do so from the dining room table.
2 — Some people will acquire new skills like baking, a new language, or a magic trick. When finding a way to pass the time, many are indulging in pastimes they never had “time” to do. We may see a surge in people even moving to a new career utterly unrelated to their current one. This learning is also relevant for those unfortunate enough to find themselves unemployed. We, humans, are quite remarkable at education and doing new things, and self-preservation is a powerful motivator.
3 — We’re finding out exactly what our home internet is capable of (or not). Many never push their connection to its limit or only do so sporadically like after work or school. Now, with people home 24/7 competing for the link (as well as all your neighbours and local businesses still operating on the same exchange, we are exposing the quality of our Internet connection.
4 — The situation will bring families closer together or push them further apart as we learn about with whom we share our homes. Many families and couples only understand a part of their significant others’ lives, even long after we live together. The same goes for children. With people out of the home for a substantial portion of the week, do we really “know” each other? We’re finding out exactly who these people are.
5 — Some people will be in the best shape of their lives, and others will be in the worst. Our houses are also the cleanest or the messiest they’ve ever been. We seem to be either highly motivated or lose all motivation. For some of us, exercising is the only way we leave the house. I believe, like many things, our will to stay on top of things will diminish the longer this situation drags on.
6 — We all become the “social distancing/isolation police” as we judge and criticise others for “not doing the right thing”. We become upset seeing a couple sitting in a park, or a group of three people talking, even while standing several feet apart. We’re reporting people to the authorities without understanding the situation — maybe it’s someone that has to go to work and needs to travel. There also seems to be an increase of passive-aggressive notes between neighbours from the posts on social media.
7 — We’re becoming very inventive at entertaining each other (like the Facebook “Bin Isolation Outing” group). At least technology intended to connect us is getting used for precisely that. Social media will either break us or make us, but for now, it seems to be helping.
8 — Sadly, there is an increase in family and domestic violence, and these will have severe long-term effects. It breaks my heart to know that some are trapped due to isolation rules and feel like they can’t escape. Reach out to the authorities or help services. And not all abuse is physical; mental and emotional abuse can sting long after bruises heal. Stop, breathe, and think before you act or speak. Please.
9 — Consumption of alcohol is increasing, but likely also the issue of alcoholism (linking to point eight above). Depending on the reports you read, we’re drinking more, drinking daily, and are becoming concerned about either what we drink or what others consume as well.
10 — We all need to take a deep breath and a few minutes alone to ourselves every day. Be selfish for a few minutes because if you’re not looking after yourself, you aren’t able to help anyone else either.
Stay Safe Out There