For those not keeping track, today is Wednesday. Because weekdays now blur into weekends, every day seems like a Sunday. Most of the stores and eateries are closed. Those businesses that do open are on reduced or modified hours, and traffic is much lighter. At certain times of day, a stop sign is almost optional.
The slower pace would almost seem nice if it weren't for the pain, sickness, and heartache caused by a lack of work, wages, school, and social interaction. We are a friendly society, which causes people to instinctively reach out for a handshake upon seeing an old acquaintance. This is a practice that is now as popular as petting a porcupine.
For the last two months, lives have been turned upside down, you all know that. Most of us have sat at home trying to pass the time. Some lucky people can work from home, but many of us spend a considerable amount of time sitting at home thinking.
I think about those people who don't have the opportunity to work from home and aren't allowed to work at all; waitresses and small business workers come to mind quickly. Unless you are a worker at a store or business deemed essential, you can't go to work. It seems a small, family-run store would be able to better maintain customer social distancing than a large store crowded with scores of people. If you need a paycheck, you realize all jobs are essential.
There is also a great deal of discussion and thought about what life will be like after the COVID-19 quarantine passes. The thought foremost in people's minds are for how much longer will this go on? Next, is will we ever return to the way of life we lived in 2019? The future is sure to look different, and don't surprised if face masks become a fashion statement for months to come.
With so many people working at home, there must be more than one business executive wondering about costs. In the future, his or her business might not require all of the office space for which they currently pay. It might be possible to continue this work-at-home environment and save on bricks and mortar costs.
From what I've heard from parents and teachers alike, the home-schooling of elementary students by way of a computer screen is not working out well at all. The attention span of students in so many different home environments is not conducive to learning. A classroom setting with personal interaction between students and teachers will always be needed for specific ages. An added bonus is teachers have gained much more respect for the job they do.
Older, college-aged students also want to learn. But they want to be on campus, mainly to get their money's worth of education. What good is a diploma from Arizona State University if you are spending your study time in Upstate New York? The lawsuits demanding a return of full or partial tuition have already begun. They are only waiting for judges and lawyers to return to work to hear the cases.
Healthcare is ripe for change when this quarantine is finished. The new normal will likely be more telemedicine appointments where the patient and health provider discuss illness and treatment by Skype conferencing. An in-person office visit could be a rare occurrence. Especially after having the lessons of the social spread of sickness drummed into our heads, who would want to go to a doctor's office waiting room surrounded by sick people. For people considering a career in healthcare, you may want to consider dentistry where hands-on a patient is required – for now.
Restaurants, theaters, churches, barbers, and businesses with no online presence are teetering on the edge of existence. There have been studies that say it takes about two months to form a habit, which is just about the time New York has been in the hunker-down mode so far. If this continues much longer, people will learn new routines, which could be disastrous for the small businesses surrounding us.
And what of the High School Class of 2020? A large portion of their life experience has been taken from them. Spring at any high school is filled with musical rehearsals, track and baseball, the prom, and, most importantly, graduation.
My hope is some talented people come up with a clever way to recognize this milestone in a student's life. These young people deserve something more than a lawn sign announcing "A 2020 Graduate Lives Here." Years from now, the adversity the Class of 2020 has endured will likely create a life-long bond. That bond among these classmates will ensure their future high school reunions will be memorable.