The Defining Moment of our Times

I have to take a step back at least twice a day and remind myself that this is global. We (myself, wife, two kids and border collie) live outside of Sydney in a fairly quiet (and lately much quieter) suburb. We have always been a close-knit family, due in large part, I guess, because we spent the better part of a decade and a half traipsing around South East Asia / East Asia with my work. We rarely go out to restaurants, preferring take out or home cooked.

So self-isolating in and of itself wasn’t a drastic change for us. There are differences, of course. We don’t take the dog to the beach anymore. I’m getting threes weeks per gallon (a shame, since fuel is at a low I haven’t seen in decades). I’m working from home, and productivity eems to be just as meh as pre-covid.

So it is still surreal that (at this writing) there are almost 2 million cases, globally and over 100,000 deaths. That the curve, globally, isn’t slowing. That the majority of the countries in the world have effectively closed down, with only those services deemed essential still operating.

The world has changed. It will change even more.

Physically, the earth has changed. The Guardian posted an online story recently showing before and after shots of India and Bangkok air quality. The differences after only three or four weeks of shut down are testament to the crap we produce in “normal” times.

Geo-scientists have observed a reduction in seismic noise, “…allowing detectors to spot smaller earthquakes and boost efforts to monitor volcanic activity and other seismic events.” This will undoubtedly allow for better earthquake modelling. While it lasts.

Culturally, obviously, we’ve had a seismic change in behaviours (nice segue, what?) . For the most part.

Unfortunately here is still a class of numbnuts, in every country, who feel that their narcissistic whims trump the safety of the whole. The gather at beaches. They congregate in churches. They continue to resist the common sense approach to killing this plague off.

But for the majority, pubs are closed. Sports have stopped. If you *can* work from home, you *do* work from home. Traffic on our roads has dropped off by almost 90% in the last few weeks.

We are never going back to “the way before”. I don’t think we can.

Working from will become far more accepted than it was. Workers who were, at one time, thought of as “low skilled” (which meant low paid) will be (or certainly should be) much more valued.

I had to go to the local hardware shop today to pick up a pack of small bolts to fix my weed trimmer and extreme social isolation was in place. A queue to enter. Hand sanitiser deployed at the entrance. No more than four people at a time permitted per aisle. I’d vote to keep that forever. Shopping was extremely efficient and stress-free.

It interesting to me that the things conservative politicians fought against for decades — free medical care, rent vacations, financial support for the unemployed — are now, for the time being, wholly supported.

What else? What do you think will be different after we’ve seen the arse-end of this virus?

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