So looks like we’re in the grip of another crisis in this country. Not since election night 2016 have things looked so dark…
And I just so happen to be lucky enough to live in one of the more badly impacted regions for this pandemic.
But I find solace in the knowledge that even in the face of this medical, economic, and extroverts’ social interaction disaster, there is always a silver lining to be found.
No, it’s not that I’m an introvert.
(Though I am, thank goodness!)
No, it isn’t the lack of crowds at the store.
(Quite the opposite of late, actually, plus the damned shelves are all empty due to the panic buying that occurred before I got round to panicking myself.)
And no, I’m not talking about the news stories coming out about people offering to get supplies and the like for the more vulnerable so those people can stay safely isolated at home.
(That lining is tarnished by all the stories of greedy capitalists buying up and then re-selling hand sanitizer and toilet paper at a huge mark-up.)
No, it isn’t any of those.
It’s the traffic.
My daily commute has been, at the risk of sounding a tad insensitive, awesome! All the Google and Apple employees are working from home, so I don’t have nearly as many Telsas to navigate around.
(Cars that on a normal day, even with Autopilot engaged, still manage to cut me off regularly.)
But unfortunately, even this silver lining is tenuous at best.
Back in 2008 when the Great Recession struck, I noticed the same thing. People lost their jobs as their companies folded and my commute got really pleasant. I could leave for work later and get home earlier, providing me with just that much more time to spend with my wife, who was pregnant. With twins.
(Fans of clichés can probably guess where this is headed…)
So yes, I enjoyed the lack of traffic even if there was a tinge of survivor’s guilt associated with each uncharacteristically speedy round trip.
Then I lost my job.
And didn’t have a commute at all.
Fast forward to now and as I zip into and out of work, I can’t help but worry about the economy and job security as well as the health of me and mine.
Last time the crisis was economic only, and the worst that could (and did) happen is that my company went bankrupt, screwed us on severance packages, I was unemployed for 13 months, and calls into the Unemployment Office, due to high volume, involved waiting on hold for a couple of hours before maybe, just maybe, you’d get a human.
(And the hold music / prerecorded messages were only about ten minutes long before they looped. Over and over and over again!)
So this time there’s the health concern as well, and knowing my luck, I won’t just get laid off – I’ll get sick too.
Plus Spring came early and along with it my allergies. Which means my eyes and nose have never been itchier or in more need of being touched, rubbed, scratched, and whatever else you aren’t supposed to do to your face during a plague.
And do you have any idea how hard it is to find facial tissues right now? I’d blow my nose in toilet paper, but holy crap, that stuff, gram for gram, is more expensive than gold these days!
So I’m feeling a little down at the moment. But that might also be because I will be working from home for the foreseeable future, which means I won’t get to take advantage of the traffic-free commute.
Some silver lining.