In War and Peace, not to be confused with Warren Buffet or Warren Beatty, Leo Tolstoy’s character General Kutuzov states: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”. Approaching the 50th day of COVID-19 induced self-isolation lends great credence to that adage. Salvador Dali understood time’s finicky nature.
A couple of days ago Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in his daily press briefing/address to the nation pointed out that “What is a normal life will take a long time to return”. A “long time” is a very subjective concept.
Anyone who has ever had old-fashioned root canal surgery knows that the process seems to go on for hours. And if you are like me, with a well-honed gag reflex, the thirty seconds or so that it takes to create an accurate dental impression feels like days. The concentrating on nose-breathing in an attempt not to choke with what must be seven oversized hockey tooth guards in your mouth feels like goes on for days, if not weeks. Of course in “real-time” it’s just a matter of seconds.
When I first heard of the self-isolation thing I didn’t think I could do it for two days, never mind fourteen. But I did, only to discover that the two-week time frame was just a way to keep me occupied so I would not notice that when it was up anywhere I might want to go had been closed.
Yes indeed, I thought. Once this 14-day nonsense is over I’ll be able to return to my usual activities. A few beers with buddies at the bar. Nope. A nice meal in a restaurant. Nope. Maybe a movie. Nope, all closed. So self-isolation continued as there was nothing to do!
There have been many lessons learned recently including the variability of the concept of time. One man’s hour is another man’s week.
And now, after urging us to stay home, invoking legal sanctions in the form of fines on those who do not observe proper physical distancing, and warning of the easy spread of the virus they want us to start to slowly return to – not normal – but daily life.
Excuse me, but you have spent the last couple of months scaring the living shit out of us, and now you expect us to be eager to get back to work. Are you insane?
Will the new reality require the six-foot distancing for years to come? If so the time has come to invest heavily in pool noodles. Unless the government has already hoarded them.