LaCaze Business Review

covid19

Adolescents drifted from city to torn city, sloughing off both he past and the future as snakes shed their skins, children who were never taught and would never now learn the games that had held the society together.

The spirit of that quote from the opening paragraph of Joan Didion's essay “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” has stuck with me since my first reading. The essay has made me consider in particular all the games we play and all the scenarios in which we play them. We play games in the office, in the realms of dating and relationships, in the checkout line at the grocery store when we talk to strangers to pass the time. All these separate interactions are games with their own pieces and rules. And it's crucial to learn what rules and pieces apply to each game.

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On his podcast, Bret Easton Ellis first referred to the pandemic as “the season of the virus” and then “the year of the virus.” Because we can now see that this pandemic may rage on indefinitely, I propose that we refer to it as “The Perpetual Pandemic.”

I've been trying to come to terms with what exactly a perpetual pandemic will entail, not for the sake of fear mongering, but for the sake of managing expectations, an exercise that I (and many others) failed at when I saw the availability of vaccines as a sign of smoother sailing across these chaotic seas. I now believe—as I read elsewhere—this uptick in covid cases is a reminder that this pandemic will not be over until the world at large has access to vaccines.

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I had just started getting a hold of a routine when the pandemic came along and crapped right on my best efforts. I spent most of 2020 trying to regain some semblance of routine. I'm sure I'm hardly alone in that struggle. The good news is that the last year has given plenty of opportunity to realign my priorities.

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2020 is behind us, but the mood carries on, so we find ourselves in limbo, able to reflect on our recent past while still experiencing it.

On December 31, it seemed as if most people were optimistic that 2021 was going to be instantly better than 2020. But as the coronavirus has persisted and after the Capitol riots, a co-worker and I agreed that 2021 is just 2020 overtime. I'm glad I prepared myself for the possibility that 2021 may suck harder than 2020.

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“2021 has to be better than 2020,” my wife tells her sister over the phone. My ears perk up, my head turns, and my eyes lock with my wife's.

I smirk.

What, she says, unsure of what is about to come out of my mouth but knowing it can't be good.

I quote a screenshot of a tweet I've seen only a couple days before:

What if 2020 was preparation for 2021?

“Don't say that,” she tells me.

But it's too late. I already did. The seed of doubt has been planted.

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Two weeks into Texas's stay-at-home order, during a company-wide video chat, I told my co-workers that living in the time of coronovarius felt like the grieving process. At that point I was cycling through three of the five states of grief: denial, anger, and bargaining. Despite my best efforts, depression eventually came into the mix and I have no doubt my old friend will visit again, and probably much sooner than I would like. The journey hasn't been the smoothest, but after six weeks or so, I finally touched the acceptance stage of grief. It may sound long overdue, but I took three years to accept what I was feeling after losing my parents, so this timeframe is much better in comparison.

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I've lived my whole life in the Sun Belt, so Earth's favorite star is no stranger to me. But only recently did I grow to appreciate the sun.

That appreciation likely grew out of the first week of Dallas County's stay-at-home order, when those first few days brought grey skies and the daily probability of rain, the constantly dreary forecast complementing the mood of catastrophe. I grew up an indoor kid and into an indoor adult, but due to the extended stay-at-home order, I've never spent so much time inside my home as I have during these last five weeks.

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If you've just woken from a coma and now find yourself unable to make sense of what's going on—or not going on—around you, let me give you a TL;DR explanation: The world's gone to hell in a relatively short amount of time. We all hope our current reality will be temporary, but there's no denying where we are in this moment.

Most of us now have plenty of time to contemplate our pre-quarantine lives. The weekday morning Starbucks runs. Picking up Papa John's simply because we don't feel like cooking on a Tuesday night. Going to a mall on a Sunday afternoon just to get out of the house.

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