It's been a bit over a year since the virus arrived and dropped us all into lonely stupidworld. I've had plenty of alone time to think. And to wonder what happened to my friends. And to go quietly crazy.
So I developed a mental habit to help, a simple mantra, to get through it:
Covid Makes Everything 20% Worse.
I repeat as necessary.
Wait. What Does Covid Make Worse?
Everyone you know is 20% less stable. Food is 20% more expensive, or there is 20% less of it. Your leaders are 20% less smart. Your new video games will come 20% slower and be 20% more broken. If you are forced to travel, something in your hotel (like the elevator) is 20% more likely to break. Your children will learn 20% less, mature 20% less, and are 20% less sane. Your business is 20% less efficient. I work 20% slower. Everyone's puppies are 20% less trained. The Mandalorean Season 2 was 20% less creative than Season 1. Everyone is 20% more angry at everyone else (and everyone was too angry to begin with). Your friends are all 20% more crazy. (And how are YOU doing?)
Observing this doesn't help. Believing this still makes me feel lousy. But at least I feel there is an order to it.
Of Course This Is True
A year of quarantine and fear and isolation must have an effect. Did anyone ever think it wouldn't?
Humans are social creatures. We are pack animals. Spending too much time alone makes us sick. Yes, there are a few people who whistle past the graveyard and talk about how this is an introvert's dream (making the common mistake of mistaking introverts for hermits), but that doesn't change the facts.
Atomizing and dissipating human society affects us. Being divorced from society makes us all 20% worse. And human beings are the building blocks of everything in society. So if people go 20% mad, everything else goes with them.
I don't know about you, but even the hardcore introverts I know aren't having fun anymore. The bloom is off the rose.
So I Try To Be Forgiving
As everything and everyone around me decays, I try to remind myself that this is all 20% harder for everyone. I do my best. But I have my limits. I'm 20% crazier too.
Isn't It Too Late To Write a Post About the 'Rona?
No. As I write this, the reopening has begun, but the effects on our brains are going to continue for quite some time. And that is before any new strains evolve.
A constant of humanity: It takes a long time to build up trust, and very little time to lose it. The 'Rona caused humans to stop trusting each other, on a molecular level. Every other person became filthy, an enemy creature you walked in a gutter to avoid. You don't just shake that off overnight.
The battle back to normal human life is actually billions of tiny battles, each one taking place in one person’s brain. If you want a normal life, the first thing you need to do is act normal. For some people, this will be very hard.
So be forgiving.
Everything Will Open Up Again
A few months ago, I read breathless articles about how businesses will work remotely forever, in our bold new techno-future. Now businesses are letting (or forcing) people to come back to the office.
This will continue. Even if your business makes coming into the office optional (or ideally, something you do 3 out of every 5 days or whatever), the people who actually show up will be the one who get taken seriously, so soon you will have to show up too if you want a future there.
It is inevitable. Humans are pack animals. If we want to work together well, we need to be together. The cost of solitude is too high.
Right or wrong, people won't wait for their governments to give their blessing before they come together again. That is why our CDC backed down loosed mask requirements and stopped fighting the tide. The pull of other people is too high. Covid is a real disease and it is scary, but 20% of life is a heavy cost.
And if you know my family and you want to argue with us about any of this? It’s easy. Have us over for dinner. Our social schedule is totally free.
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