Two months later, we got an update. Office isn’t opening for another few months. At this point, who knows what the situation will even be by then. Knowing what I know now, I embarked on one more trip to the office to get my things in order to settle into working-from-home life (and pandemic life) for the foreseeable future.
At the beginning of April, the World Health Organization updated its stance regarding masks. While medical-grade masks should still be reserved for medical professionals, they also suggest that homemade face coverings could help minimize the spread of the virus. Ever since then, my wife and I have taken to covering our faces in public.
It’s…certainly an adjustment.
As people spend more time at home due to the global pandemic, more are turning to live streaming platforms such as Twitch for entertainment and human connection. Between March 8th and March 22nd, watch time was up by 30%.
This doesn’t just impact gamers, either. One of the coolest things I’ve seen come out of recent events is the growing presence of music on Twitch. In particular, DJ’s are crushing it right now, entertaining those missing out on dance music and the club scene. Tomorrowland in particular caught my ears – and my eyes – with their approach to bringing the world closer together.
“Just drop it off at the table.”
From an outsider’s perspective, it may have looked like I was engaging in illicit activity. Standing on my cousin Adrienne’s front porch, she cracked the window open just a little and gave me the instructions to drop off the Ziploc bag of Nintendo Switch games I brought for them to borrow. I put down the stash of games and picked up the container of soup she made for me as part of this trade. Backing away about 12 feet, she and her 3-year old son Kai opened the door and yelled, “Thank you!” I got back in the car and left.
Most of the time, downtown Toronto is a bustling metropolis. But right now is not most of the time. During a past Saturday afternoon post-pandemic, Steff and I had to make a trip into the city to get a few things she needed from her work. What we saw was certainly…different.
In light of recent events, I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of life. From those who lick toilet seats in front of a camera in order to chase social media stardom. To greedy corporations running non-essential businesses that force their minimum-wage workers to put their lives on the line. To certain government officials that would rather watch thousands of people die in order to revitalize the economy. To certain world leaders who defiantly stand opposed to safety measures in a foolish attempt to look strong. It’s clear to me that the value of life varies from one person to the next.
The way I see it now, the health and well-being of ourselves and others is everything. We should be doing everything we can to protect that. Everything else is inconsequential by comparison.
“Can we take a walk to the park?”
Having spent all of yesterday and most of today indoors, Steff asked me if we could go outside to shake off her cabin fever. Our area is not at a point where we’re quarantined to the house under martial law, so there were no legal ramifications for doing so. Though I’m probably more concerned than most, I agreed. We got dressed, walked to the park, played a bit of Pokemon Go, and went home.
Practicing social distancing is one of the best measures we have right now when it comes to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. However, the process is having adverse effects on the mental health of many.
“Miss, you forgot this.”
Noticing that the woman in front of me in the checkout had left a can in her basket, I picked it up and handed it to her. The woman, obstructing her mouth with a winter scarf, pinched the opposite end of the can with her index finger and thumb, deliberately minimizing contact. As soon as she took possession, she handed the can to the cashier, saying she didn’t want it anymore.
Oh. I see how it is.
Within a span of 30 minutes on March 11th, Tom Hanks confirmed he had it, the NBA season was cancelled because of it, and travel to the US from Europe was shut down to prevent its spread. The next day – while working from home for the sake of social distancing – my laptop served as a window to the collapse of the western world. One after the other, from the stock market, to schools, every professional sport, every major public gathering, and even Disney theme parks bowed down to COVID-19. Rightfully so. It poses a massive threat to humanity and we should be taking every precaution to minimize its spread.
And here I am, creating content about gaming, just like I always have. But as the situation outside the In Third Person universe develops, this work feels increasingly…vapid and oblivious in these times.