April 1, 2020

by eric

Well, this has been the first April Fool’s Day in years without a cavalcade of annoyances.

I’m finally updating my laptop’s OS so I can belatedly get on the Zoom background train—if only to spare my coworkers constant views of our basement.

California schools won’t be opening again this school year.

Photographs from inside a Brooklyn hospital.

It’s depressing watching revisionist narratives being tested and perfected in the political world.  I had thought that crushing reality of a preventable pandemic would be immune to spin–naive of me, once again.  Especially when well-intentioned advertising policies determine whose messages can go out at all.

A great article capturing how different this experience is for those with kids and those without:

I feel alienated from my friends without kids in a way that I really never have,” Kelsey, who’s from Texas, told me. “They’re all talking about how to deal with boredom and anxiety, and I’m rearranging my life to work 15-hour days so I can split childcare shifts with my husband. They’re sad about not going to the gym, and I’m trying to cram on child development so my kid doesn’t fall behind. The level of disruption just feels so different.

The article adds texture to a feeling I’ve been trying to come to terms with: I feel like we are only barely coping–but I know there are others who are facing incomparably greater challenges: job losses, special needs kids, domestic violence, COVID-19 itself…  It feels easiest to hunker down in survival mode and avoid thinking too much about the yawning problems all around—but might that be counter-productive, in addition to selfish?

This is a terrible time for everyone. The only way to get through it, though, is to try not to think of it as a competition of who has it worse and try to think of how you, as an individual, can help those who are struggling — with or without kids, with or without jobs, with or without safety nets. And then, after you do what you can as an individual, you can start thinking about how much less stress there might be and how much more prepared we might be to weather a similar crisis in the future if we have systems in place that don’t force each of us to figure out solutions on our own. And then, when this is over — we can act, and vote, accordingly.