A few months back, everyone was talking about what it was like a year ago to enter the Pandemic. I never was much for that kind of nostalgia. I’ll say the Shelter in Place order came in on a Saturday and the boys cried because it meant their birthday party on Sunday was completely canceled after all. That’s metaphor enough to last me a few years.
I remember that early on, someone asked how long: 6-8 weeks? I suggested that we were looking at 12-18 months because that’s the fastest we could conceivably develop, test, approve, manufacture, and distribute vaccines. I didn’t want to be a bummer so I didn’t bring up my pessimism much. Everyone figured a couple of months.
When things opened up in June, I got us a plane trip to Chicago. We had a big party planned the year before that couldn’t happen, and the youngest had never been, and the older kid I really owed a fireworks show. I had worried about the logistics and whether everyone would have a good time but the trip was so immensely enjoyable.
“We need to have our fun now, before the next wave,” had been my thinking. Of course, I was thinking of the vaccine-resistant strain that has yet to evolve, not the wave that is currently hitting the vaccine-resistant population.
During the Pandemic, my employer figured out that our staff are really productive working from home, and the lease was up on the office so we took the opportunity to downsize. The new location is right next to the train, and on days when family obligations allow, I really love taking the train to the office. I think this is a pretty ideal commute: walk fast to the station, sit down, read a book, walk sorta fast to the office. Some light exercise for the body and relaxation for the mind built right into the schedule.
Lately, I’ve been coming into the office any chance I can get. As I explain, I really like working from home, and I have a good setup, but it also reminds me of the Pandemic, which I am happy to forget. Yesterday came the Public Health Order that we now wear masks in the office. I am here today and tomorrow. There is definitely a feeling of setback.
We had the technology and the money to free our country of the Pandemic this year. What we lacked was a cultural consensus that rolling up sleeves and getting a shot was worth everyone doing. I think this is just a warm-up for how our century will go. The planet is on fire again this year. Portland fried like it was Death Valley. We have, so far, been lucky in the Bay Area. No orange skies, no smoke … I haven’t run the air conditioner in weeks. Just the ongoing drought. This year, the Salmon fry will all be cooked in their natal streams.
We never took action to prevent the Climate Catastrophe beforehand. Even now, we have tools like electric cars and induction stoves and any number of ways we can reduce our Carbon emissions and … we make excuses. The new budget stimulus adds some money for public transportation, but the big money is in building more roads. In a few years, maybe, they say, there will be a few more electric cars you can buy. (And don’t bring up bike lanes.) The power grid is getting cleaner, at least.
I had a cheeseburger for lunch.