The World as We Know It

The world is never going to be the same. I know this for a fact, because my mother just asked me how to use Zoom.

But there are other indicators—some good some bad. I’ll start with the bad ones so I can build to the good ones. (I need something to look forward to, even if the horizon is only 300 words from here.)

Death toll and economic meltdown aside, here are some bad things I’m seeing as a result of current quarantine-and-physical-distancing protocols:

  1. Social distancing. There’s a fine line between safe and aloof. When you pass someone on the sidewalk and don’t at least acknowledge her with your eyes, you have crossed that line. Be better than that. Look up from your device and smile. Even if you are in your healthy 20s and 30s and find this whole pandemic to be supremely inconvenient, smile at the live human in your six-foot orbit. Being friendly and kind is not dangerous. We’re all in this together.
  2. My hair. I look like Shaun Cassidy, and I’m not planning to get a haircut. Please be nice about it. Again, all in this together. You don’t look so fresh yourself.

Now onto some good things. The marketplace is changing rapidly and radically,  and people are responding with exceptionally limber adaptations. The creativity is inspiring.

  • Restaurants are turning on a dime, pivoting from dining service to delivery. For a list of early adaptors, who quickly made the leap to curbside takeout and delivery to flatten the curve, visit The Wills Company blog
  • Among the most interesting pivots to land in my inbox, Peninsula restaurant in Nashville has launched a broth subscription service, through which members can pick up 64 ounces of housemade broth every two weeks.
  • Corsair Distillery switched from manufacturing gin to making hand sanitizer, called Gintervention, which they are supplying to healthcare providers.
  • Some veterinarians are offering drive-through service, where you drop off your pet at the curb and wait in the car.
  • My middle and high school kids will start distance-learning on Wednesday.
  • My childhood best friends and I had a Google Hangout today. (These are the same beloveds I used to sit on the phone with for hours, playing Hangman with pen and paper, when we had the flu in elementary school, so I guess some things haven’t really changed all that much.)

There’s no telling what the long-term ramifications of so-called plague living will be on everything from mental health to healthcare regulation. I suspect a generation of economics students, in the footsteps of Freakonomics, will consider Spring 2020 as Time Zero in countless data sets to quantify change in societal behavior as a result of flattening the curve though physical distancing. If I were an economics student writing a thesis five, ten or 20 years from now, I’d be asking all kinds of questions about the paradigm shift of COVID-19. For example:

1. How did college applications at the most expensive colleges change after a global test-drive of the online learning model? As one friend said of her child completing spring coursework via the Internet, “I’m now paying Penn tuition for University of Phoenix.”

2. Was there a baby boom in the winter/spring of 2020/21, after a March/April of so much state-mandated Netflix-and-chilling?

3. Conversely, was there a divorce boom?

4. Did Toto toilets reach a tipping point in the Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020?

Possible economics thesis topics are endless, and since there’s nothing else to do, I’ll be writing a list. All you future econ majors at University of the Internet can thank me later.

——

UPDATED 3/26: Will so much use of Zoom and Google Hangouts precipitate a boom of Botox and other self-care procedures for the on-screen close-up?

 

12 thoughts on “The World as We Know It

  1. As the mom of a college sophomore, I agree with the sentiment that we paid high tuition for U of Phoenix. I do commend the schools, however, for adapting to allow our kids to finish the semester. It’s so sad for them, though. They are missing their college life so much. For my high school Junior, I am anxious about what this means for his college app process. Time will tell, but I am hopeful we will all find a way to navigate this brave new world together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. There is so much that’s hard and scary right now, it helps break up the anxiety to think about what positive things might emerge from a societal re-set. Take care and be healthy!

      Like

  2. This is “spot on” and I just wrote that to a Raleigh, NC friend today! Think of all the dissertations and doctorates that will be written about this moment in time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You had me at “my mother just asked me how to use Zoom.”
    I am unable to continue, because I had to send my underpants to the hot cycle.

    Adelaide Davis
    laugh. write.
    Laugh every day, then write about it.
    (preferably with a pencil)

    400 Shackleford Court
    Nashville 37215
    615.300.3039

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Random thoughts:

    This is a golden age for dogs who finally are getting the kind of attention they’ve always dreamed of.

    Shoes are starting to look really odd. Like: where would I ever go in THOSE?

    The constant thoughts I have about various Laura Ingalls Wilder books—The Long Winter in particular. Are my Trader Joe’s frozen gyoza the seed wheat of 2020?

    A late run to Publix reveals the least popular bagged lettuce. Curious? Chopped Salad. Maybe people like doing their own chopping?

    Speaking of deep existential moments, when the checkout lady looks at your three cartons of milk, shrugs and says “it’s ok” and I say “Wait—is there a limit? I’m fine with two” and she says “you’re good—it’s the end of the day” DID I JUST HOARD MILK?

    Thank you for being spectacular, Carrington.

    Xoxoxoxoxoxxo your virtual chum

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for making me laugh, Carrington. You’re really good at that💟

    On Sun, Mar 22, 2020 at 6:05 PM Build Me Up, Buttercup wrote:

    > Carrington Fox posted: “The world is never going to be the same. I know > this for a fact, because my mother just asked me how to use Zoom. But > there are other indicators—some good some bad. I’ll start with the bad ones > so I can build to the good ones. (I need to something to lo” >

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved everything about this and have had many of these same musings. I wonder how badly my husband will suffer from withdrawal when all his girls go back to a “not together 24/7” life. He has so enjoyed having all of us home together – like the days of old (and we’ve enjoyed it too!)

    Liked by 1 person

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