Do you ever wonder…

About the decisions you’ve made in life? Whether they were right or wrong? or is there even such a thing as right or wrong? That’s kind of where i’m sitting this morning, on Day 63 of New York on Pause. It’s not a bad feeling, or a depression thought, no, it’s something different. It’s a legitimate question I think, one fueled in honest retrospection. How did I get where I am today, sitting in this apartment, in the city of Manhattan.

After 60 days of reduced Mass Transit, and vehicle traffic, the skies over Manhattan are far clearer than i’ve seen since i’ve moved to New York.

I don’t think there’s a clear cut answer on that, at least not one that I can discern. When I chose to move to New York, I had a decision to make, it wasn’t right or wrong, it was Yes or No. It was “am I going to do this?”, am I going to take that leap. I don’t regret that choice to move here, I do however wonder about the alternatives I had been considering. There were honestly several options I had been considering prior to coming here. Staying where I was however, was never one of them.

Before I wound up here, I had considered a number of options. Boston, Massachusetts for instance, I had connections and friends there already, it was interesting, and it was unique steeped in a history oft forgotten, but also home to a young generation of people my age. At the time, i’d also been considering Austin, Texas. I’ve made a yearly visit over the summer the past two years. Austin is another unique city, full of culture, and home to many transplants of NYC, and Los Angeles. To move to Austin would have been closer to a fresh start, though I still had one or two friends there as well.

There was one last thing I was considering before I got the job in Manhattan, and moved here. I had never mentioned it to anyone but, I was honestly considering getting my passport, and applying for a working vacation visa in Australia. Dropping everything, leaving the job I had and finding work in Australia, spending a year there, maybe more if I could find permanent work. Exploring a country, no a continent all it’s own, meeting new people, learning how to surf, and experiencing the southern sun, and sand underneath my feet.

I sometimes wonder what any of these options would have been like, and what path they’d lead me down had I taken them. I wonder if i’d still be friends with the people i’m friends with now, would they be willing to put up with time difference and distance had I chosen, Austin, or worse Australia. How would my family have taken it all? Would I be dating someone? What would I be doing? I wouldn’t be on pause in NYC after all, but elsewhere. I can only speculate on the possibilities.

It’s fun to think about, and I think i’m forced into thinking about such things because we are on pause. In the past 63 days I’ve been out of my apartment for about 14 hours total now. My social life, has taken a drastic shift, I haven’t seen family, and friends physically for months now. Doctor’s appointments have gone virtual. Work from Home has become a standard of living, one where I roll out of bed, and punch in 5 minutes later. The fact that depression hasn’t taken a deeper root in my life is a small miracle in itself considering what I had planned for this year.

A thirtieth birthday part or two to celebrate with friends and family. A cruise to the Caribbean with friends and family. Time at the beach which I sorely lacked last year. A new role at work, and travel for work. Speed dating, and the expansion of my horizons in NY. All put on hold by something so small and invisible, yet completely invasive in the lives of all. Part of me hopes that the next time i’m writing, in 30 days or so we’ll be looking at a shift of perspective, we’ll be looking at a slowly re-opening state. Looking at the possibilities of Travel again, and a return to office spaces. It’s a positive outlook that I need to continue to hope for, a shift to a something similar to what we had, though I know we will never return to the normal we had. I hope that i’ll be able to hug a friend, or a family member again in the near future. I look forward to that day immensely.

Today’s blog post didn’t really have a moral to the story, or a point, it was merely a physical manifestation of the train of thoughts I had this morning, and the retrospection i’d gone through. If you read to the end great, and if not I totally understand that too. This was more for me, than anyone else.

Until next time…

Dave

The World according to COVID-19

The empty streets of Sunnyside on a Thursday night.

The world is changing, at a pace that most of us can’t handle right now. SARS-nCOV-2 or COVID-19 has uprooted life as we know it. It’s forced billions of people to face the new reality that lies before them. The reality of limited access, the reality of separating ourselves, and a life with minimal interaction. It’s forced businesses to close, and assess how to continue in the now forced “Work from Home” era. It’s likely to continue for weeks, if not months at this point, and it feels insurmountable at times.

For me, I guess the biggest adjustment has been the work from home aspect of life. Part of the reason I like going into an office, aside from the ability to socialize with my peers, is it forces me to stay on task. The home adjustment has been difficult, I have to keep telling myself I need to stay on task. I went from having a desk and a computer so restricted that it’s impossible to be distracted, to a desk and computer loaded with video games, photography, virtual machines and networking projects. It’s very easy for me to think about something with one of these many projects and be like, oh, I can just pop over and do that quick. No, you really can’t, because 5 minutes, becomes 30, which quickly becomes an hour down the rabbit hole. I’ve learned with Work from Home it’s important to stick to routines. Also for the love all that is holy, if you’re working from home order a standing desk converter, it’s $150 (minimum) but if your like me, your body will thank you in the end. I’m actually standing right now while I write this, and have been standing since I got up at 9 am this morning. It really does help with posture, and i’ve had a better night sleep since I got one.

Another big adjustment has been socializing in the era of social distancing. One of the big reasons I dislike the phrase social distancing, is because it’s a misnomer you can still be social without being physically close. It’s why i’ve take to using the term physical distancing. The internet has changed the way that we as a people socialize with one another. Video Chatting, Voice Chatting, have all changed the way we can interact with one another. Right now i’m scheduling game nights, and video chats with friends when I can. We are doing our best to live our lives in our newfound social construct. At the end of the post i’ll list some of the tools i’m using to keep in touch with my friends. Definitely try to find some games that you can play remotely with them too, Jackbox Games has a plethora of good selections for this.

The last major adjustment has been getting used to just how empty the streets of New York have been since this all started. The fact that major restaurants are shuttering their doors across the city. Companies like the one I work for are shuttering their doors for the first time in decades, because they need to. I didn’t live here personally during the events of 9/11 but from people who did this virus has become very similar to the events following 9/11. No stores open, no one using mass transit, no one on the streets. Traffic is minimal, and people aren’t out and about. Standing on the subway platform Thursday night just so I felt a little bit of normalcy I watched four distinct seven line trains go by, completely empty, except for the occasional homeless man sleeping on them. The world is a very different and very strange place now.

I guess my last piece of advice for this new reality is don’t let the constant bombardment of news get you down and out. Earlier this week I had a rough few days because it was just day after day of updates on the new infections in the world, instances where people I work with were diagnosed and fears stemming from that. Find your peace with this new world, the reality of it is, someone you know, and someone you love is going to catch SARS-nCOV-2. Chances are it won’t be a serious case, but if it is do your best to love and support that person no matter what happens. Find your friends, keep in touch, and lean on each other even if its from afar. We need our friends and family, now more than ever. We are in this together, no matter how alone we may all feel. We are only separated by the physical boundaries put between us. Work to socialize, and work to be in contact with those you care about, on the daily if you can.

I have a feeling this will become a weekly thing since i’m home 24/7 until this is all over, and it’s going to be good to document this new reality.

Until next time…

Dave

An Ominous Storm

As a friend of mine put it, “Yeah this looks like a horror film”

Hello All, strangely enough i’m back. I never intend it to be the case but we’ve entered a very dark time. The picture above isn’t from a horror film, no, it’s become part of every day life. Unless you’ve lived under a rock the last six weeks since I wrote the post that was supposed to be my last posting, you know what SARS-nCOV-2 is, or perhaps you know it as COVID-19, or just plainly as Coronavirus. It’s a word that in the 3 months since it appeared in Wuhan Province, China has brought the world to a screeching halt.

Maps looking like this have sadly become all too common place in our daily lives. The media speaks of it on the daily. Our lives have been utterly uprooted by it.

It’s been a hard pill to swallow, constant bombardment by news, and developments. Major institutions shutting down, containment zones popping up around major cities like New Rochelle, and business shuttering their doors indefinitely. Mis-information, and the fear mongering tactics have lead to a panic across the globe, and if you believe some of my friends an unfounded panic. “Oh but it doesn’t kill anywhere near as much as the flu does on a yearly basis”, as of now yes you are correct. The novel coronavirus has killed 4,720 in the past 3 months. Whereas the flu has killed nearly 30,000 people this winter. So yes, as of now the flu is worse, key words as of now. The problem with this argument, that the flu is worse is that normalizes a concept of complacency. It tells you, that oh, its not that bad, we can just live our lives normally.

But, that’s not really true, the biggest enemy we have right now is not only mis-information, but a true lack of information on the virus itself. We do know, that at risk categories like myself, are more likely to develop a serious condition based on the historic track of the disease, but what we don’t know, and arguably the most important aspect of the disease is, transmissiblity. How long does this virus survive on surfaces, how long does it survive in the air? Current accepted information says that it’s much harder to transmit then the Flu. If that’s the case, then great, social distancing and the procedures we’ve begun to implement will have a significant impact on the disease. But, if new studies like the one being peer reviewed in Princeton currently, come to light, and say otherwise, we may be in for a longer haul than anyone expected.

The second problem, we will quickly encounter, especially if the latter outcome of transmission capabilities turns out to be true, we will quickly reach maximum capacity in our hospital system. The inability to treat patients efficiently, and or at all, will lead to major upticks in fatality. Especially among the aging population, and those we pre-existing health issues like my own. It’s all about flattening out the curve and being able to treat patients quickly enough to keep from overloading our healthcare systems.

I could keep going on and on about this topic, with the amount of research and news i’ve ingested at this point, but i’m not going to. I do have a few last points to make. First, if you think the virus isn’t a problem, and that it’s overblown, that’s false. Is the media fear mongering at this point? yes, and because of that people aren’t taking the virus as a serious issue. But, even if it’s not a serious problem for you, there are people who you love, and care about who it may be a problem for. The argument “well its natural selection” is a horrible, and shitty argument. No one wants to die, no one wants to leave family members behind, and just because someone is at risk, doesn’t make their life any less valuable than your own.

Please, please, please, wash your hands, that’s all I ask. 20 seconds, under hot water. Santize your hands, Santize your phones. Cough into the crevasse of your arm. Help protect those around you, who may not be as fortunate as you when it comes to your health. If you’ve made it this far, and you would like to educate yourself i’ll leave a few links below for your consumption.

A storm is coming, and its an ominous and uncertain sky in front of us.

Until next time…

Dave

Links to relevant information: