Yesterday at noon, the WA State Governor announced that all groups over 250 in our tri-county area are forbidden from gathering. He then hinted that schools will soon been closed (they did today, in the same tri-county area). A later email from a local school district further hinted an inevitable closure won’t be for weeks, but for months.
For me, it all started last Friday, when the mayor of the small town where I work announced that several city-owned buildings would close. As our office is in one of those buildings (and we are a city agency), we received a subsequent notice to work from home, “as much as possible.” Well, as much as everyone wanted to shout, “hell, yes!”, we abstained. When things get serious, it seems untoward to appear you are taking advantage. So most of us showed up the next day. Then the day after that we were sent home with the admonishment to only come into work if absolutely necessary. Before leaving the office we were also given an agreement to sign. Basically, a scouts’ honor to work all 8 hours a day.
The “work from home” edict is one thing, but an example of how urgent folks are getting about the recommendations to curtail spread of this virus is this: I was talking to one of my co-workers when we were interrupted by a senior manager to be conscious of the fact that we were standing “way” too close. We looked at each other and then assessed our distance. Probably 4 feet. Another co-worker brought out a measuring tape, sort of as a joke, and measured the distance. It was five feet 1 inch. We both took a step back. Six feet is a really weird distance to have to stand when one is having a comfortable conversation with another.
The one thing I’ve learned about working from home thus far is this: There is a lot that is accomplished in the consortium of co-workers that cannot possibly be accomplished when everyone is sent to sit in their respective corners with their backs to the room (so to speak). And then there is the plain weirdness of working from home. Home is where I hang out. Where I kick back. It is where—except for paying bills, routine chores and other homeowner headaches—I only do the things I enjoy doing. There’s no flopping on the couch for an hour’s nap after lunch, just because I can; as I do on weekends. Were my cat still around, I’d being having a heck of a time keeping her off the desk, or circling me, constantly meowing. And, I’ve discovered to my great frustration, my home desk and office chair are not designed for a full day’s toil at the laptop. OUCH! My back!!
I’ve also discovered my neighbor above me has a treadmill. She has always worked from home, but all this time we’ve been neighbors, I never knew she had a treadmill. On her breaks she jumps on that thing. And, that damn thing is loud! It’s like living under an earthquake. Funny, the things you discover when your circumstances change. I told her to go on with her treadmill. It’ll give me an excuse to go out on a walk to escape the noise!
Which brings me to this: Walking around your neighborhood is the healthiest/safest thing you can do these days. You don’t encounter a single nasty germ-infested surface; the world around you (unless it’s raining) is lovely; and it is not socially awkward to keep socially distant from others you pass by. However, it makes meeting the ebullient puppy-dog tricky.