Probably my favorite new word that I've seen being used as a means to refer to the coronavirus is The Great Pause. The sentiment is people aren't working. They aren't traveling. They aren't going out to dinner. They aren't spending money on conspicuous consumption. They are pretty much staying inside all day every day.
That's why we went to -37 dollars for the price of oil this week. It's kind of amazing. The world is breathing again. We are breathing again. Why?
The world just closed. People, like the site where I got this lovely picture, say it feels like Christmas Eve. Interestingly, our experience in China was similar. Only it occurred concurrent with the equivalent of Christmas Eve! Here the world pretty much shuts down for 2 weeks every year for Chinese New Year. The cities empty out. If you stay behind, it feels like a ghost town. This year that feeling went on for 4 weeks longer. So in a sense, it wasn't a weird transition to go through. We just had a little more shut-in version of the holidays (no family gatherings, no going out for big table dinners with family friends, no going out to the water park or karaoke or movies... or anything).
But now it's over. I went to Starbucks yesterday to just sit in the shop and do my writing. I had to have a mask on, but that only made customer service better. Or maybe I had just been starving for human contact with strangers? I dunno. It's certainly weird to transition from B.V. to A.V. - Before Virus to After Virus - but here we are in China doing it!
I'm already beginning to look back on those Quarantine Days with a wistful rose-colored lens. I'll miss spending so much time with my family (even though it was kind of stressful when we were doing it). I think it'll completely change the way we even think about "going out." At the moment, I can't see myself or my family doing it anytime soon.
What I'll miss most about The Great Pause is the way we let the world breathe. We are most likely on the cusp of an environmental crisis. Our work and life stoppage during the COVID-19 Crisis allowed us to think that maybe, just maybe, we could turn this thing around before sea levels rose to unmanageable levels, hurricanes and other severe weather became more commonplace, and heat waves became more intense.
Those are problems we can postpone to another day. That's what we always do. The immediate loss is all this beauty.
Did anyone really have any idea that the San Gabriel Mountains loomed so large and close to LA? Don't lie now! Isn't that amazing?
Whenever we do come out from this, and we will, but it'll probably be way longer than most of us think, prominent CEOs have come out with estimates in the 2022-2023 range. Yes, in countries that are hardest hit, like Europe, US, Brazil, etc. They are going to have to wait for this to be completely over for 2-3 years!
Whenever we do come out from under this, we have to figure out how to refactor society such that we preserve the many positive aspects of this trauma.