The Greatest Years of Our Lives — Part 2

To start from the beginning, click here.

Everyone is starting to get antsy. Collective cabin fever is setting in. You can’t imaging how people crammed into small apartment buildings must feel, and you thank your lucky stars for your yard. You’ve even made friends with some neighbors lately (from a distance). It seems like everyone is phone calling and group video-chatting constantly — we’re physically further away, but it actually feels like communities are coming closer together. Craving connection.

There’s not yet an official lock down in DC, but everyone is self-quarantining. Southern Europe seems nightmarish, New York is pretty rough too.

Everyone you know old and young has increased their wine consumption — you guess something about the combo of apocalypse, cabin fever, and spring sunshine really screams chardonnay. Since your “cold” last week you’ve lost your sense of smell so that has a significant impact on your ability to enjoy vino, bacon, and chocolate chip cookies. Small things really matter in times like these. Someone said loss of smell is a COVID symptom, but you also heard it’s a cold symptom.

Everything is about the garden. Your mother comes over to help you build larger garden beds and lend you some tools, your friend Mike helps you plant and gives you some tomato transplants, you bring your dog up to the suburbs to help Mom build a grape arbor — all while keeping a strict 6 feet and washing hands frequently. In general, playdates are off limits. People are board and playing board games on Zoom. Beerpong on Skype. Just touching base on Google Hangouts. Face Timing from the car. You and the fiancé have remained civil… affectionate even. Thanks in no small part to a strict regiment of exercise, ice cream, naps, and Netflix. You speculate on what the baby boom nine months from now will be officially named.

You can meet people at the dog park. That seems like an acceptable venue for everyone. Open air and you can stand far apart. Otherwise it’s life at home.

About once a week you go into the office. Brew some terrible coffee. Water the plants. Feel the power of the dual monitors and standing desk once again. Miguel the doorman is still there every day. He is healthy and in good spirits. Seems extra excited to have someone to talk to.

What can we learn?

Big shocker no stimulus has been passed. The old white men are still arguing about how many hundreds of billions of dollars to give to failing corporations in loans versus as grants. The truth is though, if you are giving dollars to corporations that can’t be open for business, you are not really fixing anything. As long as borders and stores are closed, the economy is going to be a crash, there is no way around that (unless the Fed purchases 50 trillion dollars [all] of debt). Kinda makes sense for them to close financial markets right now, but I think that’d be too drastic.

A quick list of things we’re learning:

  • There are a huge amount of people who can do their work from home, on about 1/2 of the hours they would be spending in the office, and they are just as productive and 1000x more happy.
  • We need safety nets in place. We need them before crises, not in response. That means basic healthcare and rent costs for every single person.
  • A problem for some Americans is a problem for all. If 90 million Americans don’t have access to enough healthcare, EVERYONE gets more exposed to disease. If some people are too poor to stay home, EVERYONE gets more exposed. And so on and so on. Millennials still have a chance yet to pull this country together.

Formal training in philosophy, international relations, and classical music composition; informal training in chess, volleyball, and coding.