April 6, 2020 Log No. 885

Totally Normal Start to the Year

Don’t even know why I’m making this post, as 2020 has been entirely normal so far.

…So yeah, there’s no way in my last post I could have predicted that COVID-19 would essentially cancel the second quarter (if not half) of 2020. Sure, at the end of 2019 I was aware of the rapid spread and quarantine in Wuhan but I (and it seems everyone else) didn’t anticipate it would spread worldwide. The previous viruses like SARS and Bird Flu seemed much more contained and…”over there,” so to speak. But it escalated so rapidly “over here” in the last few weeks, especially here in NYC.

Now seeing people with facemasks outside is commonplace, and treating everyone as if they have invisible 6-ft-wide bubbles around them is social norm. Actually, even going outside is sorta taboo, even if you have a good reason. Almost everyone with a white collar job is working from home and “self-isolating.” It’s shocking (and impressive) how quickly these new social rules were able to be adopted by millions of people. But it’s been a few weeks of this being the new state of things and despite how weird and dystopian it sounds on paper, it feels…normalized.

Aha, maybe the adjustment was easier for my “household” (Frank, Niku, and me) to make because it’s not unlike us to spend a whole weekend day indoors anyway. We aren’t big outdoorsy people. Delivery was our way-of-life way before this. Thankfully, our apartment isn’t super small and cramped. And of course the best thing of all is that Frank and I both still have our jobs. So relatively we’re in a good spot. Even as others (like my parents) freak out about us being in the “epicenter of the virus in the U.S.”, like NYC is in some sort of martial-law lockdown–but my day-to-day isn’t really that different from those in other metro areas, even those in the suburbs. (Sidenote: extremist fear-mongering really gets on my nerves.)

Although it is undeniably different from a month ago and there are some things I cannot wait to do once we’re back to normal. Working from home is way worse than working in the office–I really prefer having the separation in environment of work and not-work. And though restaurants are allowed to stay open for takeout and delivery, quite a few understandably closed for this time either due to understaffing or maybe money issues, and some places only supported an eat-in experience (hot pot, k-bbq, yakiniku, etc). And of course, bars are closed! I even miss riding the subway! (It’s been a month since I’ve done that–so weird to think about.) Strange to think I’ll be excited to head into the office when that day finally comes, haha. But that’ll symbolize a return to “real life.”

As for when that happens though, of course it’s anyone’s guess. I’ll confess that I was an initial optimist who thought this shutdown can’t last through the end of April, because so many small businesses can’t handle that length of closure without income. However now the question seems to be if it’ll last til Memorial Day or not; I’ll go on record here and say (wild guess) I don’t think it will. But it’s really April’s data that will make the call as all the models currently point to the “peak” of infection in April…we’ll see.

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