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Osiyo. Dohiju? Hey, welcome back.

The title of the linked article may fool you into not reading. Please read it to the end.

I’ve been saying for years that we no longer live in the society of our childhood (30+ years ago). A society where most people that live around each other also work near each other. Where I knew all of my neighbors and my neighbors would bring over extra food they made or baked goods because they made enough for the neighborhood.

I live in a neighborhood where i know 4-5 neighbors out of 250 houses. I only know about my immediate neighbor. The other neighbors around me I don’t know much of anything about them except maybe what they look like, drive, and in some cases I know what their job is.

I live in a neighborhood where most of the people commute elsewhere to work sometimes up to an hour and a half. There are massive amounts of cars around their houses on holidays and when they BBQ. If I need something I could probably go ask one of them, but I don’t know them. Most of my real “neighbors” are my friends that live somewhere between 3 and thousands of miles away. We can share money between us in moments if needed. We can have things shipped to each other and in most cases it gets there in a couple days. I’m not saying my neighbors are to blame for me not knowing them. I’ve been here 9 years and I have seen people come and go in every immediate house except one. The rest, I just don’t want to know, if we’re being honest. I’ve been “too busy.” That doesn’t excuse me from being a part of the “problem,” as it were.

What I’ve seen during emergencies are neighbors coming together, communities standing en force facing one direction side-by-side. 9/11, Tsunami, Katrina, Joplin Tornado, many other emergencies. COVID-19 shelter-in-place/aka quarantine has been no different. I have friends using their 3d printers to make surgical mask ear loop grabbers so ears don’t get hurt wearing masks for tens of hours at a time. I have friends sewing masks for people. Friends making hand sanitizer. Friends reaching out to those they haven’t talked with in years to make sure they have enough food, money, clothes, whatever, because maybe their business is shut down right now. I see people taking care of people. I see schools giving food to all kids in the district for breakfast and lunch regardless of whether they normally pay or not. I see companies able to come up with something to combat the virus or take care of the sick (like ventilators) in days and weeks as opposed to “some day.”

I see people tirelessly working to make sure elderly don’t go out and get exposed – then taking precautions to make sure they don’t accidentally expose them (like wiping packages down, and much more). I see communities rallying together to take care of people like they did when I was a kid. I see people saying “I have the time to do this and you don’t because we notice you’re working 80 hours a week and can’t cook, shop, get gas in your car” whatever it is.

I see people coming together on the same issues and finding what unites us politically, emotionally, physically, economically, rather than what divides us. Maybe I have better friends than some, idk. In the end, it’s about helping others.

My friend said this pandemic will change us. It already has.

In addition to the ways I mentioned above, we have businesses that have figured out how to survive with online meetings and less workers in the offices. We have seen businesses brainstorm and implement newer ways to do business and expand older online ways to do business. We have seen a world of introverts be able to say “I told you that we don’t have to go out all of the time” and the same introverts say “shit… now I don’t have to go out so I have no excuse not to join a zoom party.” We have kids that don’t need daycare all of the time because a parent is near. We have schools figuring out how to teach online better. We have stores setting up shopping hours for elderly so they don’t get sick. People, I hope, washing their hands more. Stores setting up guidelines on purchases so hoarding is reduced so everyone can get something of what they need.

I am certainly a bit closer to friends and family than I was before this. I see my kids daily – sometimes that sucks because they’re always here lol. I remind myself that one day they won’t be here. I won’t have the chance to walk out of my home office and see my family (almost) all together. I won’t be able to answer questions, play board games, or take walks, play the wii, etc. One day, I won’t be able to do any of that. I won’t be able to enjoy time with my best friends. So, I’m absorbing all of it now, taking a slow deep breath and exhaling. So many things that were “important” are no longer important. I’m teaching my kids even more skills and infusing them with useless knowledge that they’ll probably never use again – but maybe they’ll remember how to do. And hopefully the good memories of playing games, learning dance moves, getting teased that we’re going to make a Tik Tok video are all things that they remember and enjoy – not that they didn’t get to play with other kids, had to do homework from the table, they don’t get their phones during the day, and actually had to play together nicely again.

There are definitely downsides; elements of society that we’re realizing don’t seem right anymore. Some businesses are exposing workers, unnecessarily, by demanding they still go into offices despite the fact that they could work from home. There are still perceptions that workers from home aren’t producing. There are “essential workers” that are working more than ever before. They are exposed. There are layoffs, furloughs, and outright firings of people because companies don’t have lobbies open, restaurants don’t have seating available, and more. We have healthcare workers in some areas working even more to take care of the sick. I still see politicians arguing over helping people vs taking care of their interests. In my opinion, if a company is too big to fail then it should fail. It’ll be split into smaller pieces that will be bought by other companies and won’t affect as much in the years to follow. My future isn’t safe at all. So many more have it worse than I do. There are more downsides, however, this is supposed to be about the good changes that I have seen.

The world and our communities will continue to change in ways you cannot imagine, yet. It is my hope that our return to helping others and coming together to find what we can do for each other stays long enough that not helping others and dividing our nation is seen as the wrong way to do things.

I’m proud of so many of you for taking care of others. You are treasures.

Thank you all for being my friends.

Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting

Dodadagohvi. Until we meet again.

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