RogerBW's Blog

Grinding to a Halt 21 May 2020

The "lockdown" has affected me relatively little: things I mail-order take longer to arrive, role-playing games have moved online, and I haven't seen my boardgame groups at all. But now it starts to feel as though people have gone into a kind of stasis.

Many people I know are able to work from home anyway, so they're continuing to do so. Thus the relatively minor loosening of restrictions makes very little difference to them, or to me.

The first six weeks or so were taken up with building new ways of doing things. But now we're used to staying at home; we've reached accommodations and formed new habits with spouses, cohabitants, children, etc., and we've settled into routines.

Meanwhile, local Lidl has finally started to limit the number of people who go into it… by having a chap standing right next to the door (without mask) to tell you when you can walk directly past him and go in. Two and a half weeks ago quite a few people had masks on inside; this time I saw only three masks other than my own, only one of them on a staff member, and it felt only a little less crowded than usual. There were no no one-way aisles; everyone was apparently happy to brush past at close quarters; and there were at least three people in there coughing continuously.

I've seen some suggestions that the rate of people staying at home, compared over the world, is primarily correlated not with government policy (it's hard to spot a difference in mobile phone movements before and after changes of policy) but with culture; certainly many people I know were doing it well before the official word went out, and are continuing to do it in spite of the present muddled advice. In the UK at least we have many people who have joined the "the virus is not a problem therefore I'll take no precautions" culture. (There's a remarkable correlation between this view and "climate change isn't real/isn't a problem", "Brexit was and is a good idea even if you're not a millionaire", "capital punishment is a good idea", and dislike of people who don't look, sound and smell exactly like the speaker. And of course the opposites of all these opinions tend to go together too.)

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:41am on 23 May 2020

    My parents cut right across your categories. Strong brexiteers, some support for the death penalty, but agree climate change is a serious problem and are absolutely isolating.

    Personally I'm really struggling with isolation even though I'm doing it in Yorkshire with my parents. I miss going to work and interacting with all those people in person. And my network access here despite being quite good has made some parts of my job almost impossible, because packet latency is the killer not bandwidth. Some days I can barely check any source files in or out, Perforce seems not to like high latency. Some of my test equipment is at work, and too large/expensive to take home. At some point I will have to return to the office when the tasks that have to do be done there reach the top of the priority list.

  2. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 03:59pm on 24 May 2020

    I think I've adjusted to having my beloved in the flat with me all day long. It's not a big flat, but we can separate; me in the living room, Susan at her workbench in the bedroom.

    Strange how apparently little things can have an impact on productivity?

    As for the other matters: risk of infection remains high, so we shall continue to isolate and wear masks; climate change is real, the solutions remain costly.

    Stay well, stay safe.

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