You Think What!?!

Covid Questions?
Are you Seeing Double, Blindsided, or Enlighted by Hindsight?

Are introverts really enjoying lockdown & all this working from home?

Are some people secretly delighted not to have to travel for work?

Should we continue to support local small businesses if they suck?

One year on, knowing what we now know, would putting up with a hard, one month, 100%, total lockdown really have been so bad last year?

Or would enough people still break the rules, that it wouldn’t work anyway?

Ever get the feeling that we missed a really big opportunity to learn how to handle pandemics better?

What if the next one is far more serious? More deadly?

Would we react differently if the death rates were far higher?

Or if a virus targets our children more severely, rather than the sick & elderly?

Or are we collectively that stupid that it wouldn’t matter? Maybe don’t answer that one! LOL

What about a virus that targets liberals or conservatives? 😜

Which country did the best job containing the pandemic?

Which one is doing best deploying vaccines?

Are the rest of us capable of learning anything from them? Maybe we shouldn’t answer that one either! πŸ™„πŸ˜œπŸ˜

Have you wondered if you’re one of those people susceptible to believing conspiracy theories?

Why don’t we give the real ingredients to the @#&$heads out there making fake vaccines?

Should we look at improving our country’s healthcare system?

Do we only worry about the less well-off countries after we take care of ourselves first?

What are the chances that we all answered all those questions the same way?

Is there anything we can agree on? πŸ˜‰πŸ˜

Stay safe out there all. πŸ™

Working From Home

My Work from Home Colleague!

I think I’m getting the hang of this working from home thing at last. It was a little chaotic at the start. I found myself getting caught in unplanned online video conferences with yesterday’s t-shirt on. Or with a three-day beard. Sometimes, I discovered that I’d forgotten to comb my hair, but only when my headshot popped up on screen. Now I have a much better routine. But I also keep a hairbrush in my desk, just in case!

I’ve always done some work at home, so my office is well set up from a technology standpoint. Nothing special, I’ve got a desk, dual monitors, fast internet, great cellular signal, & all the basic stuff you might need. My office is big enough not to be claustrophobic, with a nice view out the window, overlooking a forested strip with a babbling brook running though it. The most practical addition I’ve made is to squeeze in an armchair & ottoman. My back suffers after a few hours at the desk, regardless of where I’m working from, & this proved a Godsend. A few minutes stretched out on this comfy old chair is a wonderful cure. Can’t believe that I didn’t think to do this in my real office. Years ago.

I must admit, my home office is a little untidy. With my desktop covered, I’ve taken to using the floor as a sorting surface. I really need to work on that. And my office is pretty boring too. Functional, but really plain & blah! I’ve taken to studying the backgrounds of home offices on TV these days. I’m trying to watch less CNN & Fox News (a story for another day!) & my entertainment tends to come from BNN Bloomberg now. I’m fortunate to still have a job & I figure BNN offers the best insight into my future job security. I time my lunch break to catch my favourite show on BNN. Not only is the stock market very entertaining during these crazy times but, with different guests being interviewed every day, this show is a great source of home office inspiration.

You can tell these people have already done what I’m planning to do. Their home offices have improved, week by week. Some of them look so good now that it’s as though they’ve been professionally staged. Strategically positioned highbrow books, nice artwork appearing on the once-bare walls. Accent furniture pieces. Fresh flowers. And some people introduce their doggies to viewers. Very cute, almost makes me want to rush out & rescue a puppy!

On the back wall, I think I’m going to go with some artwork. And some enigmatic bric-Γ -brac on a console table. That should all make for good idle chat. While we wait for the late-comers to sign into those online meetings. Though I might have to refinish the table so it matches the decor a little better. Another thing for the to-do list!

I’m going to put my own artwork on the wall. I once painted, & even sold some paintings along the way. If there had been cellphones back then, I’d probably have some pics of those works to show you how brilliant I was! πŸ€ͺ

Sadly, I abandoned the hobby when I got engaged with an early version of Adobe’s Photoshop software. I’ve long been a photography aficionado, so superimposing digital art manipulation on my photography hobby was a perfect fit. It was fast & efficient. And it made a few of my mediocre photographs look better. I’m thinking of doing a gallery of artsy pics of my real office for my home-office wall! πŸ˜‚

The weirdest thing about working from home is the lack of social contact. I can’t believe I’m saying this, because I had come round to hating airports, but I’d kill to be back flying again. On the other hand, I don’t want to die, so that probably won’t be happening any time soon. I really, really miss the office & customer interactions. You can’t spend a career in sales without enjoying time with people. Regardless of career, I think we all need this social interaction. Many of my friends come from the ranks of my colleagues & customers. Even though some of the bastards buy competitive products on occasion, they’re still my friends! 😜

Our colleagues, customers & suppliers are all very much an important part of, not only our work, but of our social circles too. I find it difficult to imagine, despite the potential cost savings, that too many companies will go to a 100% work-from-home, office-less model. It’s just not a social solution & that aspect of working life may prove too important a contributor to the bottom line. Thankfully!

I can do this & I’m getting better at it with each passing month. But I really hope we get a successful vaccine soon. How are you doing with this whole work from home thing? Let me know. And I wouldn’t mind if you sent me your ideas for home office decor either!

Just in case I’ve got to walk around during one of those online meetings I’m off to hunt online for a pair of dressy flip-flops now! 😁

Stay safe out there. 😷😜

The Yin & Yang of COVID-19

We’re an interesting species, are we not? It took a little while for us all to get on the same page with respect to this whole social isolation thing. Thankfully, I think, regard for human life overcame the desire to protect the economy. Most people made it to this perspective, for the most part. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how it unwinds.

If we come up with a vaccine or a cure, better still if we had both, it would be an easier transition back to something resembling normalcy. Perhaps we might even achieve a new, hopefully better, version of normal. It would be nice if we learned from the experience & were better prepared for some future outbreak. Anyone up for improvements & support for our healthcare people & systems at the moment? Might we be a nicer & kinder society afterwards?

The alternative paths are fraught with trepidation. It will be interesting to see what the tipping points might be. And to see who might be trying to put a thumb on the scale along the way. As the virus makes its way through the population, there will be a point where a significant percentage of people will have contracted COVID-19. And recovered. Will this growing group want to remain socially isolated, in order to protect those who have yet to be exposed? At some point, there will be enough of us thinking in a way that might be contrary to our personal feelings on doing what we previously though of as the right thing. The larger the numbers holding such a perspective, the more readily we can join the crowd. While we generally like to see ourselves as loving & kind, sometimes, it is fear that encourages us to be so. Remove the fear for self & our concern for others can diminish too. Replaced by our concerns for our financial health & other matters. Valid concerns, these too.

These days, we are influenced by social influencers on social media. Politicians, musicians, & tacticians from a wide variety places & spaces can get inside our heads. There are so many mounds that can be found to preach a moral story from. Yes, staying home to protect Grandma is valid. So too is getting Jack back to work, so he can feed his family. But what if Jane wants to return to work too, but fears for her life because of an underlying condition? What about making that mortgage payment? Paying the rent? Companies, small & large laying off their people. All devastating worries & legitimate, perspective-altering situations. We can all think for ourselves, of course, but it can’t hurt if we hold on to the better part of our nature, as we make these decisions together.

Individually & collectively, we have some yin & yang going on. In the same way that I can never quite figure out which is the good one, I struggle with trying to figure out if I’m inherently nice, or just being so because it’s serves me better. I have to acknowledge that I would be greatly relieved to find that I’d already had the damn thing & was now immune. But I would, at the very least, wish the same for everyone else. It’s not going to be easy but here’s hoping we can stick with the will of a kind majority, & the rule of law, ’til we get to the other side.

For as long as I’ve been socially isolated though, I’ve had a cough, cold or flu bug. I am doing the social distancing thing by the book. How on earth am I catching these things!?!

One thing I’m not doing well with at the moment is dieting. Tomorrow is the first of a new month & I’m dreading stepping on the scale!

I’m almost questioning my own sincerity now, but I think I hope that you’re all doing okay out there!!! πŸ€ͺπŸ˜‰πŸ˜

Dieting on Lockdown

#PleaseProtectGrandma
Comfort Food!

It’s pretty safe to say that we’re all impacted by the coronavirus outbreak now. Many of us are either working from home, or not working at the moment. If we are still fortunate enough to have a paycheck coming, we are concerned about how long that can be sustained for. The kids are off school, or being schooled online. Driving parents crazy in the process! We all have someone that we’re worried about. I have immediate family working in healthcare that I worry about. Family members in foreign countries. And I have moments of anxiety about how I might fare, should I contract the virus. Worry is not conducive to losing weight!

I went, alone, to my favourite big box store last Saturday. They had people at the door, wet wiping the carts for us. And yes, they were antiviral wipes too. I checked. Surprisingly, it might have been a little quieter than a typical Saturday. The shelves were well stocked & the pallets of additional inventory were piled ceiling high. The toilet paper was out of stock though! I filled my cart & went home. Only to be asked if I thought I was out shopping for Christmas!

I’m not allowed to go there alone anymore. Oops! πŸ€ͺ😁

Yeah, I guess I hadn’t made all good choices for a lockdown. Though cookies & chocolate are good for the soul, aren’t they! I hope I’m not just looking for an excuse to break my diet this month. Though I am struggling to resist comfort food at the moment. I really don’t like baked beans all that much. But I found myself giving in to sausage, beans & chips last night. A favourite from my childhood. Funny, eh?

That said, & despite how terrible this whole situation sometimes feels, there are some great things going on too. Our neighbours are braving the outbreak to show up for work in healthcare, transit services, law enforcement, food supply & a host of other services that are essential for us to get through this. There are acts of kindness being committed that warm the heart. Companies paying people that aren’t working. Landlords forgiving rents. These are not just legal entities, there are kind people there. Hordes of people are volunteering to work at shelters, deliver food, help neighbours. A small tire shop in my old home town offered his time & his van to local charities. Opera singers doing their thing on their balconies. A guy dropping roses on people’s porches on the news this morning. There are a million ways to show kindness. To be nice. And to preserve out faith in humankind & in each other. Besides, just being nice makes us feel so much better.

I remember that wonderful feeling of immortality that comes with being young. Hey, it wasn’t that long ago! It would really help if the young crowd could brandish their immortality online. Instead of on the streets, the bars, & the beaches. I get it. And yes, I’d love to be as bulletproof as you. I am truly envious. But please protect the older folk in your family & neighbourhoods by not doing that just yet. Next time around, we’ll hopefully have vaccines & medication that will fight this thing. But this time, we need to slow it down & manage things a little more carefully. Please.

#PleaseProtectGrandma … & all the grandpas out there!

Hey, if you are a bit less emotional about all of this, try doing something practical that helps. I dunno, maybe buy a few shares in your favourite company & help prop up the market!

At month’s end, I’m not sure how the bathroom scale will be influenced by the coronavirus thing. But I might be more forgiving of my results this one time.

❀️ to all, take care out there.

Breakfast with Bento – Coronavirus

Emergency food supply?

I have breakfast with Bento on occasion. He’s a font of dry wit & home-spun philosophy. Seasoned with an occasional outburst of passion on topics he feels strongly about. In moments of what might be fake humility, he claims to know nothing about anything. But I enjoy listening to his take on whatever the current news headline might be. His sometimes scathing assessments on political situations, gender wars & generational differences can bring me to tears. Usually of mirth!

This morning, the news was on in the diner. Bento had decided he wanted to eat out for breakfast before any lockdown might be implemented. On TV, a doctor was uncertain about, but continued to speak of, the hope for warmer weather tempering the coronavirus outbreak. Bento wondered why they ever let the bleeping bleeper escape with a medical degree! “Bleep, couldn’t the bleeper just look up the temperatures in Australia, Singapore & the Philippines?” I nearly choked on my toast at his summary. And while I grabbed my phone to check the temperatures & to see what the case counts were in those countries, Bento muttered that they were running around “that fella’s” golf resort with the virus too. “And what’s the temperature down that way? Isn’t that where all the snowbirds go for winter?” True enough that!

Bento was all on for a lockdown. Though we’re in an area that has yet to officially record a single case of the coronavirus, Bento is convinced we have them. And that we should be locking things down ahead of getting into a situation like Italy. “The horses have bolted over there,” he says, “and I hope they can round them up.” So what are you doing coming out for breakfast, Bento? “There you go!”, he waves his arms in the air. “Even sensible people do stupid things.”

“Some of us are just too stupid to be allowed to make our own decisions sometimes. Look what happens when we vote.” Bento wouldn’t be considered politically correct sometimes. “The Asians have a better handle on things. They do what they’re told. But not us. Oh, no! We like to be free to do what we like. Even if it’s stupid!” He went on a little rant about our healthcare system being overloaded already & that we had no chance if this thing was allowed to run rampant. He was loud now, & further encouraged by the grunts & nods of agreement from other customers within earshot. And that pretty much included everyone there. “We’ll be bleeped if they start rolling into emergency by the boatload!”

After he paused for a bit, I shared my thoughts on a lockdown. Maybe we should keep things open. To protect the economy perhaps. People need their jobs after all. And what about my retirement investments? “Ah for bleep’s sake, Paul, wouldn’t you be better off losing a few dollars & just surviving ’til retirement age.” I burst out laughing & nearly choked inhaling a piece of egg. Hard to argue that one!

As I picked up my cheque to leave, Bento shouts out that he expects that I’ll be wearing a hockey helmet & gloves next time he sees me. Now there’s a Canadian solution to remind us not to shake hands that just might work round here!

“No panic, Paul, but a little suffering can be good for the soul!”, was wrapped into his farewell comments.

“And quit smoking!”

I think I’ll go out & buy some toilet paper now! πŸ€ͺ😁