• Life

    Social Behaviour In the Time of COVID19

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    In a word: online.

    In a few more words: social media and video calling.

    And social media is currently losing its lustre for me as an actual communication medium. No one, and I’m including me there, seems to have the appetite to actually discuss things that are worth discussing. We want things over quick, a short exchange of words so we can move onto the next topic/meme/cat video.

    Worse, a lot of that not really communication is more along the lines of “agree with me or don’t bother responding to the thing I posted”.

    Which annoys me. If someone wants to live in an echo chamber where everyone agrees with them in every way, they’re going to need a much smaller bubble and one that doesn’t involve opening up opinions for public viewing.

    Because, and I know this is going to be unpopular: no opinion is worth anything without substantive reality and logic to back it up. Sorry. We all have the right to hold whatever opinion we want, no matter how well- or ill-informed. We have no right to an audience for that opinion or to have people agree with it. If we post something, we should be prepared for people to disagree and be able to have a discussion about it. Most of us don’t seem to have made that leap yet.

    So while social media is certainly social, I’m not sure it’s the kind of social that’s really doing most of us any good right now

    Video calling, on the other hand, is working out pretty well for me. We’ve started, if only barely, a weekly family check in group call, some members of which I haven’t seen in person for far too long, and others I don’t talk to enough in the ordinary course of events. I’ve also used the same programs to reconnect with some old friends, folks with whom, until recently, I’ve only exchanged irregular texts or Facebook comments with. Both of these items are very much good things.

    I’ve always regarded myself as an ambivert, able to function adequately in any social situation running from a hugely interactive crowd to being alone with my own thoughts. But that second piece doesn’t mean I don’t have people I care about who live outside of the house I share with them. And I need to touch base with some of those more often, and in more meaningful ways.

    There’s still lots of physical distancing to come before we start to establish whatever the new normal is going to look like. I’d like for us to remember to talk to each other in the meantime.

    Stay safe, and be well, everyone.

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  • Announcement,  Life

    Day One

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    And along came COVID-19.

    Or, as a great poet once wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.”

    Since the last post on 22 February, I have drafted, or least dictated and mostly edited, eight different blog posts. They will all probably still happen at some point but will likely need a little bit of updating or alteration first.

    The last couple of weeks have been fairly hectic, particularly the last seven or eight days as my company, a gaming company with typically large venues, joins the growing list of companies to “temporarily suspend operations”. The OLG, a crown corporation of the Government of Ontario made the announcement forcing us closed about 17 hours before the scheduled release of the information that our parent company would be doing that for all of its operations across the country. The government announcement came late on Sunday afternoon and by midnight my place of business was shut down and something close to 90% of the people who work there had been informed that, until such time as the government lifts the closure, they will not be coming to work. Of the few of us who remained, we generated a list of things that have to be done in order to both close the building and to be ready to reopen. The four of us left in my department, and almost immediately down to three by a self-isolation, came up with a list that could probably keep us busy with those necessary tasks for about three weeks. We had hoped to be able to get most of the stuff done before the Board of Directors made the next expected call, which they did on Thursday morning, to just get the critical stuff as most of the rest of us would be leaving work by the end of Friday.

    I understand the basics of capitalism, and that if there is no income, there is no outgo. Oh, companies can get through short periods, and sometimes not so short periods, where they are spending more than they are taking in, but there is always point where that changes. When there is zero income, it has to change very quickly and very severely. Lots of companies and people are discovering that at the moment.

    For me, for the duration, that means I have about 50 hours of newly-free time per week. It also means that my family’s income takes a significant hit, and things are going to suck financially for a while, but we’re not even vaguely alone in that, or even in the minority now. We will adjust as we can.

    But I have five workdays back for the next few weeks or however long until the government begins to lift restrictions.

    And so I have lists.

    A list of things to be done daily, that will, hopefully, ultimately leave the house sparkling.

    A list of things to be done two or three times per week in the same direction.

    A list of things to be done weekly, and many of those are animal-related things as we’re more or less a giant snake and a small crocodile away from having our own zoo. Not really an exaggeration, but a post for another day.

    A list of things to be done to the house that I already have what I need to take care of. Yardwork, a bathroom ceiling fan, and so on.

    A big list of creative things. Writing and editing and publishing and blogging, and maybe this time when I can actually make major headway on certain other creative projects that I haven’t really mentioned out loud.

    And, of course, a list of things to keep myself healthy and sane. Martial arts and geocaching and just being outside for fresh air now and then.

    Above all, though we may be spread across the house, I have time to be with my family.

    I hope also to be able to participate in things that help my friends and community to help us all take care of ourselves and each other.

    For me, today is Day 1 of finding a new routine and making use of those lists. My Day 1 is later than some and earlier than others, but we are all in this together in some fashion.

    For the duration of the current troubles and beyond, please try to take care of yourselves and be well, everyone.

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