1700 square feet. My universe right now. A backyard too, and a weekly trip in the car to the grocery store. In and out in 30 minutes.
Most of us have similar stories. In fact, exactly the same stories.
Efforts to stay connected to friends and family, and to be productive at home, have been marginally successful. At first it was kind of surreal: figuring out how to do things remotely that normally are done face to face. Strangely, part of the problem now seems to be that in our increasingly technology-driven world, using technology ALL the time gets monotonous and boring quite quickly. I’m of a generation that never had technology until we became adults. We still choose other ways to get things done. Now we can’t.
I move from room to room – each with a different function – and try to keep myself entertained. Reading in one, watching movies in another, even doing a bit of tabletop macro photography in yet another. I also plan the home improvements I hope to make sometime this year and tinker with a few home repairs myself.
It’s still too cold to work in the garden and too muddy to even clean up. A storm is coming the day after I write this, followed by a cold front that will last several days. Meaning even less chance of productive time outside. And how many walks around the block can one do in a day?
People all over the world are coping with similar challenges, and many with far worse, including my neighbours to the south in the United States. I am so grateful that income, health care, food and shelter are not concerns for me. I grieve for those who have lost loved ones, can’t see loved ones who are suffering, or can’t see loved ones because they themselves have been exposed. I cannot imagine their pain.
And so I putter. I move from room to room.
One thing I have done is reorganize and prioritize my photography gear, putting less used equipment into backup storage and ensuring that every bolt on every piece of gear has the right hex key available to turn it. I must admit too that I’ve purchased a few odds and ends online, mostly to help organize what I just described. And maybe a couple new toys too – but not new technology.
Sadly, my one direct contact with the world right now is taking porch delivery from the courier who drops the box and backs away after ringing the bell. He signs my receipt on my behalf while I look on and try to make small talk from six feet away about the situation we are both in.
I do thank technology profusely for the ability to stay in touch with my family, especially to see my great grand-nephew, born at the beginning of February, and first grandchild in our family. He has changed so much in the short two months of his life and is a happy, vibrant little guy. He vocalizes a LOT, especially when his parents talk, smile and laugh with him. I can already tell he is an extrovert. I miss his wonderful baby smell.
Twenty years from now I wonder what we will tell him about how we’ve handled things this year. Is this the first of many such events, or will we come to our senses as a planet and solve at least some of the problems that brought us here? I worry a lot about that, and about the financial legacy we are leaving him as we respond to the crisis. Millions unemployed, some never to be re-employed in the same business. Billions and billions in collective debt, left for future generations to pay.
There are some positives in all this. I’m thankful that technology has revealed the imagination and creativity that can erupt in these times. Teachers are finding other ways to teach; visual storytellers are sharing their talents and experiences through online conferences and workshops; average folk like me are keeping spirits up by posting funny videos and pics in our social media groups. YouTube favourites provide online photo assignments to try at home. And I’ve started following a couple of webcams posted at bird’s nests so that I can see parents doing what all parents should be doing – having families and raising their young. I appreciate all of these wonderful diversions.
As I write this, it is not at all clear how long we will be in lockdown. And will it get worse before it gets better? The trends in other countries suggest it might.
Technology is keeping us sane right now. So I extend a thanks to all the companies we routinely complain about – for slow internet speeds and high prices. You are our lifeline now. Thank you so much.
Looks like that storm I mentioned at the beginning has arrived early. Wind has picked up. Heavy rain too. Maybe just maybe it can blow away this mess.