While our amazing medical workers, and people running essential businesses take on extra shifts, spending even more time away from their families, the rest of us are urged to stay “home.”
Home: the place, until recently, we constantly went running from to attend appointments, errands, classes, meetings, and most of all, work.
On a personal note, I happen to love having everyone home for “cozy family time.”
“Exhibit A in this context is the way in which hundreds of thousands of white-collar workers are suddenly able – indeed, required – to work from home.” John Naughton, The Guardian When Covid-19 has done with us, what will be the new normal?
My husband falls under that category – his 40-minute commute replaced with extra time tending the garden or simply lingering through his morning ritual.
Our son and his girlfriend engage in online classes and homework. Their internships, prospects, and futures in general, are dangling tenuously in uncertainty. I’m keeping busy, working when I can, and catching up on one of my evening hobbies, watching movies!
Sometimes we can learn lessons from Hollywood.
Hollywood offers many family movies where the overworked and neglectful father finally realizes there’s more to life than working himself to the bone. Take the happy Christmas movie, “Elf” for example. James Caan’s commute from his spacious apartment on Central Park West to the Empire State Building is practically effortless, although we do need to factor in New York City traffic. Most fictional dads are usually blessed with a hassle-free and barely existent commute. At the end of the movie, Caan’s character walks out of a last-ditch effort Christmas Eve meeting to finally spend time with his son, who is desperately searching for his half-brother, Buddy, the Elf. Together father and son save Christmas, and more than one fractured familial bond is restored.
Could it be we are all learning this same lesson reserved only for heartfelt Hollywood cinema – all because of the COVID-19 quarantine?
Are we all overworked and neglectful humans,
Just now realizing there is so much more to life?
Last night as I was going through my nightly ritual of caring for the dog, taking my supplements, and searching the entire house for my reading glasses, our son (25) and his girlfriend (24) were having a Pre Cana type discussion. For the past 7 years they enjoyed a close friendship, which recently blossomed into romance. Quarantining together has been a compatibility exercise they are passing with flying colors. We’ve all fallen in love with her and the hope of a marriage is obvious. We didn’t marry till we were 31 and 33 and had only known each other for 2 years. If you know my story, I’m endorsing the 7-year prior friendship route.
Their conversation began with them not agreeing on an acceptable dog breed. A Pre-Cana conundrum for sure! I heard my son saying he preferred fresh air and trees over settling in the city. She wants to live and work in the city where the big salaries are, avoiding the dreaded commute.
She is unfortunately giving up her Manhattan apartment in the city in a few days. If my son gets his way, does this mean she will need to join the commuting RAT RACE with no time to linger or attend to a favorite morning hobby?
WHAT IF COVID-19 GAVE US A PLAN B?
Pundits and journalists are speculating on what will be the new normal. Although I am neither, I do have an idea to cut down on over-crowding on trains, subways, travel expenses and precious time away from home and family.
- Mondays and Wednesdays – half the population commutes
- Tuesdays and Thursdays – half the population commutes
- Fridays can either be every other week or early shift and mid-morning shift.
- The days you do not commute, you work from home as COVID-19 has quickly and efficiently taught us
I realize these ideas may be a little unconventional, but wouldn’t they solve so many problems? Congestion and future spread of disease to name a few. Even our Hollywood dad’s commute would be traffic-free.
I couldn’t help reminiscing about taking turns commuting, when we started dating back in the late 80’s. I eventually gave up my New York City apartment as well, and in the name of love, rose early, walked nearly 2 miles to the train, and commuted in and out of Manhattan for my secretarial job. It can be done, of course, but what if we’ve learned that crucial lesson that there is more to life than working ourselves to the bone?
As a mother, I naturally want better for the next generation.
So many of our children and young friends have had their entire lives uprooted. More like they have come to a screeching halt! My husband and I have organically made our home as cozy and calm as possible. We have put ourselves in their tender position with love and compassion, hot meals, board games, good conversation, and lots of laughter. And wine!
My alternate workday idea may be far-fetched, but if you think about what we are experiencing now, maybe it’s not too, too hard to imagine!
Stay safe and well. Much gratitude to everyone helping, working, and commuting to keep us safe and fed during the coronavirus.
Eva G Kane