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Time flies and slows in a crisis… June 5, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thanks to Ed for the link here, a piece from the LA Times that points to one curious aspect of the crisis.

Think about your first day in quarantine. Does it feel like a lifetime ago? Or does it feel like yesterday?

Many people staying at home as a result of the coronavirus crisis are noticing time pass more strangely than usual. While some complain of days dragging on and on, others have taken to social media, explaining they feel the past several weeks have flown by eerily quickly.

Certainly there’s a repetitious aspect to days that is odd. With horizons collapsing the daily stuff is more obvious. Eat. Work. Eat. Cycle. Read. Television. Podcasts. Think about cleaning this or that in the house. Forget about that almost immediately. Etcetera. And repeat. I haven’t ventured further than a kilometre or two from my front door in eight weeks or so. Though I’m out most days for a cycle. It’s very strange. Strange too to come home to work. Stranger again to have the work email on my mobile, not sure how welcome that is. Or what the future brings there? And this is all a huge luxury. For those who have to work outside in their offices or factories or so on a lot of the above doesn’t actually apply. I may have to trek in in a couple of weeks and thereafter once every week or so. There was a point when that would have seemed inconceivable. Now I’m kind of interested. As the piece notes:

It’s also important to note not everyone has the relative luxury of feeling bored at home while in quarantine. Many people are busier than ever, whether they’re working in a hospital on the front lines of the coronavirus or at home balancing a full work schedule while trying to home-school their children. It’s possible people who are busier than ever during the coronavirus crisis will look back and feel as though this period of their lives lasted longer than normal, Hammond suggests. “When they look back, it will be the other way around,” she says.

Meeting fewer people about is another oddity. All the little social interactions have gone.

Or as the piece notes:

For those staying at home during the pandemic, it has a lot to do with our worlds shrinking to the bare minimum — staying at home for the vast majority of the day, with trips outside only for exercise or a visit to the grocery store. For the most part, we are not taking part in particularly memorable activities, like getting drinks with a friend, going to a sporting event or traveling, says Marc Wittmann, an author and research fellow at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. Now, there are fewer signals differentiating a Sunday from a Monday.

And discussing on Zoom and after with some friends during the week we came to the conclusion that it’s not exactly a substitute for meeting up in real life. For a start the event aspect of it is different, more muted. And the format is forced in a way it isn’t in other contexts. Also there are limitations as regards numbers. Six is excessive. Three about right. The scope for side-conversations is limited. Perhaps some sort of holography, with images so precise they were indistinguishable from the real thing would be different. Some way from there though, aren’t we?

So for some time seems to pass more quickly. On the other hand for some it’s like time is moving more slowly. I think I’m mostly in the latter camp. Perhaps too that’s a function of the extremely good weather.


1. alanmyler - June 5, 2020

It’s strange but in the past week or maybe two I’m starting to be less pessimistic about the severity of the long term impact here, simply because the numbers of deaths and new infections have come down so much that it gives hope that we might be able to learn how to balance its presence against some reasonable levels of social and commercial activity. There’s been fairly consistent ignoring of social distancing guidelines by urban teenagers, and others, for quite a while, and yet the numbers have remained promising. The initial cautious approach was definitely the right one, and it has paid off. We have a possibility of enjoying the benefits of that now. I’m still completely averse to opening up international travel and tourism, like let’s just take it handy enough now and not go mad. About how we’ll look back on this, I think quite positively if that’s possible. As a society we’ve managed to act very well collectively without losing the plot despite the restrictions and severe changes. I feel quite proud of how we’ve managed as a society. Certainly by comparison with how our nearest neighbours have managed. Living out in the sticks here it’s been a pleasure in fact, the slower pace of life, having the family all here bar the nurse, it’s been nice. Of course it’d be a different story if we had antagonistic relationships or issues that made the isolation unbearable. And the weather has certainly helped. I’m almost looking forward to the next phase now, to see how the easing of some restrictions might improve the situation without negating the nice bits of the first phase. The young one is pining for her boyfriend who lives up in Dublin, so there’s a visit on the cards next week. Yes it’s a risk, but one we’re more comfortable taking at this stage of things. As I’ve said before the eldest, the nurse, had the dose and is fine afterwards. The middle lad just started this week as a postie up in D8 so we’re all reconciled to him probably catching it in due course. But the anxiety levels about that have diminished. It’s not like me to be overtly optimistic by nature, but I’m getting there.

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2. roddy - June 5, 2020

Don’t want to scare you but the only 2 people I personally know who had covid were a postman and his father.It barely fizzed on the postman but his father spent a week in hospital and was readmitted a couple of weeks later for a further 3 days.The 2nd admission was due to his heart racing which he assumes was damaged by him having covid.


WorldbyStorm - June 5, 2020

Mentioned before, those I know who’ve got it seem to have got it bad, cardiac issues where none existed or very very very bad doses indeed leaving them very badly weakened. And those are all folk in their late 30s to mid-40s. So I’d think a lot of the assessment of risk/benefit ratio depends on how many people one knows who have caught it.

I think it’s still early days to tell whether the first phase has been a success. I hope it has, the evidence so far points to it having been, but I’m waiting a further week just to see how matters pan out. Certainly I won’t be in the first or second wave back into pubs or restaurants. And international travel is a non-starter on a personal level, and I hope more broadly, for a good long while yet. My real fear is having navigated the last two and a half months quite well there’s too rapid a loosening of restrictions leading to a situation where down the line, say a month or two we see the reimposition of very strict controls again for a further period.

Liked by 1 person

alanmyler - June 5, 2020

I think it’s a foregone conclusion that we’ll oscillate into and out of restrictions as the loosening bumps up the numbers and corrective actions need to be taken. There’s no sense that we’ve seen the back of it by any means.


WorldbyStorm - June 5, 2020

Yeah, the long term view is tricky for states like ours. In a way I envy the New Zealanders.


alanmyler - June 5, 2020

Yes there can be complications alright, the effects on the organs seems to be not so well understood yet. The young lad is 21 and in good health so his chances are good if he does get it. Incidentally he was saying that An Post are trying to hire at the moment so if anyone fancies a job as a postman now’s a good time to apply. Union job, decent money, lots of overtime available.

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