Zoom and Gloom


            ‘You know Clare is working from home, just like Muriel, and all this virtual interconnecting is driving her crazy, must be the same for Muriel,’ I said.

            ‘Yes, teaching from home is a real challenge. Also, many people who work from crowded homes, Muriel has a friend where 4 adults are trying to work from home. Two university students and the parents. Everybody gets a turn at the kitchen table, 4 computers, 4 smart phones and somebody has to cook and clean.’

  ‘Clare has a colleague who has a baby and is trying to work from home and another one who is the care giver for her dad. Everybody is going mental in their own small, virtual world.’

            ‘And for every one of those there are dozens who share apartments and high-rise condos. Not everybody has a house with an office and a garden like we do. I’m lucky because I still get to go to the store and nothing much has changed for me,’ Camp said.

            ‘You’re lucky you don’t have to zoom or skype, or meet people on virtual platforms with designer back grounds. Clare left her closet door open the other day, nice background for her meeting,’ I said. ‘People don’t have to dress up or worry about makeup or shoes. Just wear your jogging pants all day long.’

            ‘Just think of the money everybody saves,’ Camp said. ‘On transportation, clothes, lunches out and makeup.’

            ‘It’s not sustainable,’ I said. ‘People need to interact, face to face, across from each other, preferably without masks. There are already help forums and discussions on zoom-fatigue and virtual-lockdown-syndrome. People are going crazy is the translation.’

            ‘It might be years, if ever, until we get back to where we once were: Carefree and not afraid of physical contact.’ Camp said. ‘This covid will have a much larger impact than 9-11 did or the crash in 08. This will define how humanity carries on, it will define the future and I just hope that the power grab by politicians will be returned.’

            ‘Right now, they’re handing out buckets of money but that will eventually dry up. That’s when it’s going to hurt in many parts of the public sphere. What do you think of the extra $ 300 every OAS recipient will get on top of their pension checks?’ I asked.

            ‘It doesn’t really affect me but I think it’s short sighted and almost smacks of electioneering. I guess it’s easier to top up everybody rather than try to figure out who really needs it and who doesn’t.’

            ‘Somebody coined this: We’re all in the same storm, just not in the same boat,’ I said.

            ‘Well, that’s a lovely turn of phrase, except we’re in comfy yachts with flush toilets and fridges full of food but a lot of the world is caught in this viral storm in leaky, over-crowed boats with no food and no hope. The massive social and economic disruption of lockdowns in impoverished countries will potentially lead to famines and more social upheaval,’ Camp said. ‘I’m afraid that for some the cure is worse than the disease.’

            ‘Doom and gloom,’ I said. ‘Is there any light at the end of the tunnel or is it the proverbial train coming head on in the form of a ‘second wave’?’

            ‘I don’t think so. There will be hot spots and flare ups which can be controlled but I don’t believe we’ll have second and third waves. And on the positive side, the pubs are opening again,’ Camp said, puffing on his pipe.

             ‘Should we risk it?’ I asked. 

            ‘You know, I’ve come to like these outdoor meets. I can smoke my pipe, don’t have to listen to the TV and it’s cheaper too but on the other hand I miss seeing Vicky and Rosy.’

            ‘And it would be nice to get a proper pint rather than these cans.’ I said.

            ‘It’s a date,’ Camp agreed.

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