how do we “go back?”

It’s week eight of quarantine. I don’t think I’ve driven the car more than a handful of times. I’ve not been to a single store. Interacted only with family. I know not everyone is, or has the luxury to be able to be, this cloistered. Like all things there is a scale with opposing extremes at either end and we’re all at different places for different reasons, and maybe we even move around.

But how do we go back? I know, you’ll come back with, “we don’t; we go forward” and I’ll pretend I’ve not heard that. Whatever you call it aside… how does this end?

There does not seem to be hope for a binary end; no light-switch. But is it forever, then? It can’t be forever, right? So it has to be somewhere between on/off and forever. And if there’s no black/white transition but instead a long period of lightening gray, what the heck does that look like?

When do we start doing what? With whom? How often? I know the disease is awful and it’s terrible to compare anything to the loss of human life – but the “coming back” from this is going to be hard. People will be judged, people will judge. Everyone will have their own scales and timelines. People will shame other people.

In the US, we are so intolerant of each other right now, so divided and tribal. I can’t help but feel like this “recovery” is going to fan those flames. What’s correct? What’s safe? What’s sensible? Where is objective truth? People are listening to all kinds of tripe; clinging to fringe voices because it’s easier than the consensus.

I honestly don’t know how to behave, but staying here at home is normal now and changing that seems difficult and indeterminate so maybe we just do that? How do you behave unselfishly moving forward?

I hate thinking about it because I can’t fit it into a framework and I crave framework. When I’m 65 I think we’ll look back on this past 12-24mos as one connected “happening.” Leaving Intel, living on the road for year, moving to Florida, starting a new job, Mom dying, the isolation of self-quarantine… it will be one strange blur with a bright-blazing theme of transition. The now/then being so starkly different we won’t help but be able to think of life-before and life-after.

We’re still settling, then. This transition hasn’t ended. Maybe… maybe the the stability and normalcy I enjoyed in California is a thing of the past.


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