March 13th was my last day working in the office. The day started off normal with all the usuals: coffee, email, good and bad news, etc. Throughout the day, we did our work, chit-chatted, worked on the psychedelic cat puzzle, and watered the plants.
Then…about 4pm, the message came through. Those that could, should work from home for the next two weeks. That day, our biggest concern was getting the plants watered (we have a lot of plants). As we began leaving the office, everybody waved (no hugging) goodbye, promising to get together for lunch in a couple of weeks.
Little did we know, we’d soon be relying on Teams and/or Zoom to hold our regular meetings. Little did we know our get-togethers would only be virtual and that two and a half months later there would still be no end in sight.
What we also didn’t know was that we would be stuck watching the country descend into chaos as people would choose to risk lives for this virus: some on the front lines of the fight, risking their own lives and those of their loved ones to care for the sick; and some on an imaginary front line fighting for the freedom to get infected and then infect others. We watched people hoard hand sanitizer and toilet paper (of all things). Store shelves were soon emptied and 24-hour shopping was no more.
Restaurants turned quickly to drive-through and carry-out only. Theaters and bars closed. Non-essential businesses closed…and then the schools closed. And then the schools REALLY closed, leaving millions of students without access to education, and many without access to regular meals.
Oh yeah…the economy.
Company’s forced to lay off staff, and then furlough, and then fire altogether. Small businesses shuttering permanently. Unemployment skyrocketing. Big companies getting bailed out…and still paying bonuses and letting go of employees.
Yeah…the world turned upside-down. But at least there are no zombies.