Because I live in China, I entered into "self-isolation" a lot longer before anyone else in the world did. I use "self-isolation" because unless they are barricading your door and locking you in, as was mandatory in Wuhan and most of Hubei province, it's not really a "quarantine." Like, I see people in America say they are in "quarantine" and then they go out for jogs and stuff. Or take the dogs out for a walk. That's not quarantine. That's self-isolation. Don't get me wrong. It's much appreciated. But people under true quarantine have it a lot harder than those of us who are just choosing to stay at home for the most part. People under quarantine have to be taken care of by the community. Their trash has to be taken out and they have to be delivered food.
I entered this "extended social distancing mode" basically right after the official Wuhan lockdown on January 23. There were only about 800 confirmed cases at that time. But the real fear was that nobody knew anything about this silent killer. Much like the rest of you have experienced, it took about a week from the virus to go from something very much "over there" and "not our problem" to "Holy shit! I could already be infected because this thing is highly contagious and starts off just like any other cold, but then you die! AHHHHHHHHH!" Or something like that.
After an intense two month period of basically forcing all non-essential residents inside their apartment complexes, Wuhan is starting to open back up. Two months, guys. If you would all just stop complaining and trying to make this a political or geopolitical thing (Two words: IT'S NOT!) and stay inside for 2 months and just chill with the fam, everything would be much better. I realize that is easier said than done, but Jeez, guys, the evidence is right there in Wuhan. #StaySafeStayInside
For me, I've been in Shanghai. For the most part, I've been able to go out and about in the city the whole time. It's just that there has been nothing really open for me to go to yet. I tend to sit on the balcony of my apartment, depending on the time of day it's either with coffee or whiskey, and observe the traffic on the road below. When all this started, it was eerily silent. In a city of 25 million people, I heard nothing. Today, I'm sitting here at 8 o'clock in the morning staring at the morning commute out my window, and things are not jammed up. But there's lots of traffic. Enough to make it a constant hum. To me, that's welcome progress!
Personally, this hasn't been that great of a time. The company that I had worked for for the past 18 months, although it was teetering before, eventually decided that this crisis was just too good of an opportunity to pass up to justify not paying its employees a salary. It made a lot of sense when I finally filed the paperwork to get back into my office and clear my desk. The WeWork we had been renting looked like this:
A ghost town. With two sad LINE Friend stuffed animals perched at the retro Atari gaming station to prevent anybody who might think of playing it to prevent them from doing so. In this ACV world, such shared social assets, where everyone puts their hands on the same controllers, are just unthinkable. Yuck! What were we thinking? Better question: What the heck is WeWork gonna do? I think they're going from $50 billion down to ZERO in less than a year. That's amazing. I feel sorry for their employees more than anything. They had bought into this social vision, this idea that WE can do anything if WE set our minds to it, we just need premium coffee and craft beer to do it! Now they'll be out of a job in no time, if they aren't already.
I still have a couple other ways to make cheddar. But losing my main gig in the middle of a global pandemic was not the best emotional baggage to be dealing with. But as they say, it is what it is. We make peace and we move forward.
For the most part, I've just been trying to write more during quarantine, which is why I've enjoyed these little challenges that @theycallmedan has recently been giving to the community. I've tried to keep it going with AT LEAST one post per day on Steem/Hive. I also wrote the whitepaper for the company that decided to stop paying its employees. In retrospect, that was a waste of time, but I do at least get to feel an enormous sense of accomplishment in having finished a 17,000 word opus. On to the next project!
I also just turned in a chapter for a book that hopefully is going to get published by Wiley. The chapter is called "Blockchain Will Animate Tomorrow's Integrated Global Logistics Systems." It's always kind of a pain in the butt to write academic stuff. But again, it gives me an enormous sense of accomplishment to have gotten a 6,000 word manuscript out the door while dealing with the unprecedented stress of having a global pandemic literally outside your door. Can't wait to start on another academic project later today! Gotta keep up the momentum!
Perhaps the most gratifying thing I've been doing during this self-imposed quarantine is continuing to teach my graduate-level business courses. Since we can't meet in person, my school has arranged to conduct these sessions all via Zoom. At first, it felt weird and I'm sure I was awful with it. But, as they say, practice makes perfect, and I feel like I get a little better at it every time we do it. Also, now that literally every college classroom all over the world has turned to online video classes, it feels a whole lot less weird. Upon retrospect, it does seem a little odd that we ever thought we were going to be able to hold face-to-face classes this semester. But it's true. Even in China, we expected this to be something that lasted about a month and stayed, for the most part, restricted to China. Now we're looking at something that has affected every single country in the world and it will be disrupting our schedules for still months to come! I'm incredibly honored to be able to teach these young students and together I think we've made the most out of this incredibly awkward time for everybody in the whole world. Here is just one of the three cohorts I am currently teaching. Just look at their little Zoom faces!
I may appear too have been busy during these past two months of My Covid Life. But don't get me wrong! I've had plenty of time to "Netflix and chill." I wish that my brain could better deal with the stress of going through a global pandemic and I could just be killing it on writing every hour of every day. But the truth is I don't have the brain space to deal with all of this stuff on the daily. I need a lot more time than normal to decompress from the current situation. So, let's see, I've run through Grace & Frankie, The Kominsky Method, The Ranch, Suits, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Narcos, and now Altered Carbon. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but I feel like that's embarrassing enough. I don't know why I'm putting this on the blockchain, in fact. But whatever, I got nothing to hide! What are your guilty pleasures? I can tell you one thing I learned from my Couch Potato Period of COVID-19 Anxiety: Meghan Markle is way too hot to have been on just a cable TV show! She is network TV quality! No wonder she's now Princess Meghan.
So I've been doing my part, contributing to society from afar. Financially, I was able to sell off some assets (in retrospect not nearly as much as I should have!) before the whole world realized what was going on. Thanks to that, our family has a couple months' runway before we'd have to take any drastic action. I know that a lot of families are not in such a position and I'm grateful that we at least have some kind of cushion. As @nealmcspadden talked about in his most recent @threespeak video, tomorrow is April 1 when about $40 billion of rent is going to come due. Who's going to pay it? And what the hell happens to the world economy if most people decide, like Cheesecake Factory, Subway, and others, "Yeahhhh, I'm just not paying rent this month. Sue me." To me, that's kind of the elephant in the room right now that could blow up whatever chance we have at a coronavirus recovery. As I have throughout this apocalyptic scenario, I will hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I'm leaning towards worst on this one tbh.
The fam and I have been great. It's certainly not easy to spend so much time together when you are used to your BCV routines. But that is something we are just going to have to get used to. The main disruptor has been that our 3-year-old daughter has pretty much not been in school since we took her out before the Christmas holidays. So she's been a quarter without school. It kills me, but what else can I do? Schools aren't open yet here in Shanghai. The rumors are that they will open back up this month, but right now they are just rumors.
The government is pretty hellbent on preventing any chance of a "second wave" and, frankly, I'm glad they are as vigilant as they are. Hong Kong and Singapore had this thing beat and then imported cases came in and started the whole cycle anew. People need to remember that it only takes one asymptomatic carrier to spread this stuff everywhere. While the Westchester County coronavirus "patient zero" has now gone home fully recovered, he contracted the disease locally and spread it locally. Plus, if hospitals get overwhelmed, his kind of severe cases have no chance. So I can see why China has been increasingly draconian about letting in people from abroad at this moment.
Once the risk of a "second wave" has been mitigated, I think my daughter will be going back to school and getting to enjoy a more "normal" toddler life. It has been a privilege to spend so much time with her these days. But kids gotta be kids and play with other kids outside in the sunshine. Not just chill with Daddy doing God knows what on the porch:
Well, my morning coffee is almost finished, which means it's high time I got to some Netflixxing before my required academicizing for the day. I look forward to reading the other posts in this initiative. Sharing our stories, boring as they may be, gives us a shared experience all over the world that is positive for coping with all this. Hopefully, after a few months, we'll all look back at this as an interesting time in our lives that we are grateful to have survived through.
I wonder if that's how people felt after the Spanish Flu.