I present to you today the results of a small, not at all scientific, ‘survey,’ I have undertaken among my frequent interlocutors, about the negative, but also the positive, aspects of our stay at home restrictions over the last 5-6 weeks.
The news content in this commentary includes the views expressed by some individuals that the time will come when we will remember this period in our lives with some nostalgia.
Here are the general findings of the ‘survey’:
Everyone is worried about what our lives will be like after the coronavirus crisis ends.
They are worried that our way of life will change even more substantially, and for a longer period of time, than in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on 9/11.
In particular, among other things, they are concerned that the lack of personal contact with friends, associates, and acquaintances will close us off even more to others than we were in the past, and that we will be deprived of the enjoyment, as well as the psychological benefits, of social and work-life interaction.
Experts note that communications technology, for example, the use of Zoom and other video-conferencing media, is helpful during the crisis – but that it cannot replace human contact.
There are other things that are also making our lives unpleasant:
Like the claustrophobic feeling that makes us pine for fresh air, which we suck-in insatiably as soon as we open the front door of our homes.
Like our hair, which has grown so much that it reminds us of the time when long hair was in vogue.
A friend also complained that his driver's license had expired and that because government offices were closed he could not renew it. “No,” he told me, “I have nowhere to go,” – but he wants to feel that he can get into his car if he needs to and go somewhere.
Another, who while he does not believe it is the right time to open restaurants, diners, coffee shops, bars, etc., nevertheless says: “Brother! I just want to be able to sit down with someone and have a glass of wine or a pint of beer.”
And also, some of them – as I believe is the case with all of us – are absorbing endless amounts of news that is making us depressed – and angry at politicians who are trying to exploit even this nightmare for political reasons.
It is also a fact that some people are confused by the different versions of the coronavirus story that the media are presenting and they do not know what and whom to believe.
Is it true, they wonder, that the coronavirus is as dangerous, as deadly as they say, or is the "school" of Professor Ioannis Ioannidis right, who estimates that eventually the death rate from the virus will approach that of a merely very bad flu epidemic?
Now come the positives:
I have been told over and over again that staying home has offered people the opportunity to spend a lot more time with family than ever before.
To sit together at the same table for lunch and dinner.
To get to know each other better, to talk to each other, to laugh, to watch a show on TV. As someone said: “This would be a perfect life if there were no angst over our economic survival.”
There were also enthusiastic references to the fact that they can hear birds chirping louder, sweeter and longer than ever before.
They see the city being cleared of pollution and wish it could stay that way.
They believe, for the first time, that they need to protect the environment. That they need to change course before it's too late.
This issue, I believe, will take on very important political implications.
In conclusion, my daughter – I repeat, this is a non-scientific survey – revealed to me her thoughts about the way we have been living until now. She said that the coronavirus has undoubtedly caused relentless destruction in human lives and the economy, but that this situation is not so different from other circumstances that come up in life: "No evil comes unmixed with some good."
And so I have concluded that the time will come when we will remember this period not only for its many negatives, but probably also with some nostalgia.