We’ve all lived life within similar boundaries, having iPhones with the same applications, CNN on TV, Al Jazeera for some, some of us ignoring TV altogether. Dinosaur desktop computers at work loaded with ancient Microsoft software.
All that, plus financial markets priced to perfection and a slough of reality shows for the evening entertainment. Life was steady.
Then the reality changed and set us apart, the awakening coming in the form of a virus, which was always out there but somehow now it’s getting a lot of attention.
Go figure why, it beats me.
Now we work from home practicing “social distancing”, as going to the office requires permission, and we use Skype or similar apps to do business.
There is an app for conferencing called “blue jeans”, as flat of a name as one can possibly imagine. May as well call it “wet towel”.
I don’t get excited about blue jeans, but try Victoria Secret blue and I will dial in.
The current virus scare shows that there are no similarities from continent to continent and we’re not the same.
The climate matters – if you have hot summers and cold winters with insect and bacteria kill, you’re better off. Living mostly in Europe for the last few years I have been watching in amazement the number of TV drug commercials for cold, flu, joint pain, muscle pain – there are hardly any of this kind in Canada.
We get down to -40C in the winter, but also to +40C in the summer and people are healthier. This is in contrast to rainy and sun-less climate in Central and Northern Europe.
Location matters too – Italy has the oldest population in Europe and they live in densely populated communities, in contrast to say, Canada. They have a high number of deaths every flu season.
Nevertheless, life will come back to normal eventually and by this I mean soon, the media is going to drop the topic like a hot potato and all will be good on the western front again. Lost taxes and increased welfare payments will put pressure on governments to lift the absurd business closures.
Then later in the year, come October on a random Tuesday evening I will heat the pool to the point that steam will be raising from the water and blinding me when I swim.
And my pool is big, not Olympic size but close, and I will be enjoying it to no end.
Then I get nasty letters from the local energy supplier about how I am not doing my part in being tame and how I am the worst among the neighbors.
They show how bad I am in fancy graphs.
To which I say: “I pay the bills, no? Go away and focus on something else.”
I am under quarantine now for 14 days, today is day number six since I returned from the desert (read my Long Stem Rose for the account of it.)
I have no symptoms whatsoever, if anything, I never felt so good. I go for walks sometimes and the streets are deserted, if I meet people they make a round through the grass to keep away from me. We all seem to be living on the edge.
The way life feels now is like we’re going through a big reset and we will come out better on the other side, I am convinced of that.
We have plenty of human capital: strong backs and agile minds. They just have to be reconditioned off their addictions to canned entertainments and raptures of techno-narcissism – in other words, we need to get real. Mostly that means re-adjusting our attention back to the people and the place around us, while expecting a whole lot less from distant institutions far away.
Hell, just saying that feels so good.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler