Some say that we are prisoners at home. Others say that we are safe at home. Beyond the differences of opinions, the truth is that we have been at home for a long time and that our trips, if any, are short and to the shops in the blocks near our homes.
I remember that in the distant month of last March, I filled the tank of the car. Never has a tank of gas lasted so long! My poor Peugeot, hidden in the underground garage, was only exposed to sunlight twice in those many days of social isolation. It was when the need to buy heavier products such as water and wine bottles synchronized with a discount-announcing email from my favorite supermarket located nearby.
The year 2020 surely already has the world record for hours spent indoors. I don’t think I have ever spent as much time indoors as this year. And we are not yet halfway through the year! And we are not yet at the end of the pandemic! Yes, clearly the second exclamation is stronger than the first one. Not to mention the record of hand washing!
But, well. All that time at home, all that new dynamic in one’s life has consequences. I am not going to focus on the bad ones like the desire to kick the walls or the door, nor that the refrigerator is unpolite for not answering when I speak to it. Let’s talk about what we have learned, observed in our behavior, confirmed for some reason.
A first observation is that open television is no longer necessary. I think most people can live without it. It may be that many people, along with the record for hours spent at home, also broke the record for hours spent in front of the TV. It is not my case, but I think it is that of many. Along the same lines, I think it is absolutely confirmed that a good and fast domestic connection to the Internet is a basic necessity. With it, you can watch series and movies whenever you want. You can’t live without it!
Also along the same lines, many realized for the first time and others only confirmed their concepts that e-commerce is an irreversible trend. Many people have just made their first purchases from supermarkets or other items online and were delighted with the result. For my part, I had to buy cartridges for the printer, acrylics for my hobby, a microphone for my course recordings and some other things. I know people who bought many books in Kindle or similar format, because they had time to read them, as well as many movies downloaded on YouTube in addition to the hours they spent watching Netflix content.
Let’s talk about the body. In a very disciplined way, I have been maintaining the routine of exercising every other day. Of course it helps that, before the invisible worm arrived from China, I already had a mat, a rubber band and a gym cloth band at home. I also had a habit of going to the gym twice a week for Pilates classes. Well, what remains for me of the pandemic is that I don’t need the gym out there. That means, I don’t need, after the isolation is lifted, to go to the gym and pay a fee to do what I can do on my own. I was able to confirm that I can maintain the discipline and dedication of keeping my body fit frequently and regularly.
Another lesson that the pandemic leaves us is the Zoom. Or, more generally, non-personal meetings. I realized that it is easier to speak to a person on line and with a time limit of 40 minutes than to try to schedule a visit. I also realized that it is easier and more agile to keep in touch with your friends and relatives through a regular remote meeting than otherwise. Many people, and myself included, will continue with quick online meetings after social isolation is lifted.
Along the same lines as Zoom, it is also important to talk about education. Many students at different levels from school to universities tried online classes for the first time because they were not allowed to move to educational establishments. And, in most cases, the experience was very positive. You can develop at your own pace and with less pressure from the group or the teacher. Remote education is here to stay. I risk saying that it will be, in the not too distant future, an important part of the learning process, complemented by face-to-face meetings with teachers and colleagues. Another prediction that I risk mentioning is that, since distance education allows and enables the individual rhythm of learning, it is possible that the structure of years and age-groups that we have today is obsolete in the future. In other words, we can see young eleven, thirteen and fifteen-year-old students in the same classes, for example, because some developed faster than others.
What is said about education also applies to business training. Synchronous or asynchronous classes of courses for companies are going to be transferred to the digital world. The instructors are going to charge less for each course because they will not be face-to-face courses and, on the other hand, we will be able to teach the same course in more companies since the presence will not be required. It is a good solution mainly for post-pandemic times when training budgets are going to be very low.
There is also the kitchen. Of course, there must be many people who can’t stand the desire to go eat in a restaurant. I truly miss the smell of the grill that is one block from my house! But, there are also many who realized that you can do delicious things at home. There are many recipes with good illustrative videos on YouTube that help transform a normal person into a Cordón Bleu chef. I always say that cooking is an act of love because you give yourself when you are preparing a meal and you have great satisfaction when your product achieves praise from your diners. That pleasure, exactly that pleasure, many discovered during the quarantine. For my part, I already knew it before isolation but I confess that I was able to practice and improve knowledge during these times.
Also, we realized that there are things that cannot be replaced. I am a weekend golfer and I miss walking on the court and playing with friends. Not that I’m a great player but I like golfing. And there is no way to replace that pleasure. At one point in my quarantine I thought about practicing my swing, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I could break the ceiling in the living room or, even worse, break one of my clubs. So the bag is waiting for me near the door, praying that the quarantine will end soon.
The hairdresser cannot be replaced either. It is not that my hair touches my shoulders as I write this note but it already has a length that is much more than it usually has. I do not dare to try the haircutting machine, although I have already watched instructional videos about how to do it.
Finally, from this pandemic I still have no antibodies. Yes, I am left with the doubt that if it is good or bad that I do not have the antibodies. Due to the isolation, I did not expose myself to the virus, which seems good but, since I am optimistic, I think that I would have defeated the worm quickly and would be immune to go out and would be now ready to go play golf.