COVID and Revelations

My family has come down with the plague of our time. As far as symptoms go we're doing okay; they're on the mild side of the scale. But being in quarantine sucks. 5 people in a little more than 100 square metres. For at least two weeks.

It comes with its own set of insights and revelation, however. Valuable, inspiring, and sad. It turns out that we eat a lot, for example. That shouldn't come as a surprise, but I'd never really thought about how much and how often we do grocery shopping until we couldn't do it ourselves.

That's another thing: people are absolutely fantastic. So many have gone out of their way to help us do grocery shopping, get and leave testing kits, and just generally be good friends to us. It's a humbling experience. It's also had another side to it. I've come to understand just how many of our local friends are actually my wife's local friends.

This is not a unique situation, of course. Men quite often have a hard time nurturing social contacts, and quite often end up relying on their spouses to organise and keep their friendships alive. But I've been arrogant and foolish enough to believe I'm not one of those men. I've made concerted efforts to maintain contact with people I like.

It's just that a lot of the friends I am in most contact with live far away, courtesy of my tech interest and near-constant internet presence. They have proved a great moral support in these times, which is of course no little thing. That's not going to keep us fed, however.

I guess this is modern society in a nutshell. We can all find our tribe, regardless of how quirky and weird we are, but it's sometimes a very distant tribe. I have an interest in societal resilience, distributed tech, local production, and similar. It strangely never occurred to me that the most important component of societal resilience is neighbourhood. My virtual tribe can not help me when my car has a flat tire and I need a compressor. I can't help my virtual friends to pack for a move.

I'll sure be making some changes to this part of my life in the future. There are plenty of people nearby that I like, and that I would love to help when they need it. We should be near enough that they feel it's natural to ask.

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal