I was scheduled to go away that weekend. I took my work laptop home, not knowing what was coming. To say that the weekend was odd was an understatement. The plans that we had fell into pieces. The town in which we were staying was oddly quiet. Many of the stores, which under different circumstances would have been open, were closed. The hotel was barely occupied.
When I got home, I turned on the computer to see an email from my company’s CEO. We had the option of going to the office or working from home. I texted my boss to say that I would not be seeing her in person.
Like many of us, I expected to stay home for a couple of weeks, maybe a month at most. Little did we know that everything knew would change.
When Covid-19 came onto our shores more than two years ago, we all expected that it would be a short-lived experience. We would return to our normal lives within days or weeks as if nothing had happened.
During a talkback after a performance of the Broadway musicalCompany, star Patti LuPone yelled at audience members who were not wearing masks. The video of this incident quickly went viral.
I’m not a huge fan of hers, but props to LuPone for saying what we are all thinking. Anyone entering a Broadway theater as an audience member must be masked. As of now, this rule is in place until the end of the month.
What we have to remember as audience members is that while this is entertainment for us, this is a job. If there is another shutdown, no one involved in the production gets paid. Over the last two years, I have become acutely aware that while I had the luxury of working from home. There are still and were many people who did not have that option. Wearing the mask is about respect not just for ourselves, but for the people around us.
I know that we are all tired of masks and the hoops we have to jump through just to get out of the house. But until this disease is either conquered or toned down to the point of non-existence, this is what we have to do to stay alive.
We never know what will happen when we open our eyes in the morning. The day could be as ordinary as ordinary can be. Or, it can shake you to your core.
At about 8:30 this morning, during the rush hour, a man walked onto a northbound N train at the 36th Street and 4th Ave stop in Brooklyn. He detonated a smoke bomb and started shooting. As of earlier today, 10 people were shot and multiple others were injured. A good portion of the NYC MTA subway system was either shut down or dramatically altered for most of the day.
I know the station where this attack happened. Events like these are always scary. But they are even scarier when they are close to home. Today was one of those days when I was more than grateful that my company still allows us to work from home. The truth is that 99.9% of the time, the biggest inconvenience when getting on the train is a delay or track work that forces a change in travel plans. Those are normal in my world.
What happened today scared the shit out of me. I know that come tomorrow, I will shake the dust off (as will anyone who calls this city home) and go about my business as usual.
But that does not mean that what happened will not leave a scar.
When humanity was created by the heavenly parent upstairs, we were given the ability to make our decisions. Which, as we all know, has consequences. Some for the better, and some for the worst.
In New York City, only 60% of public health workers are vaccinated. In response to these numbers, the Mayor has announced that those who remain unvaccinated must either get the shot(s) or submit to weekly Covid-19 testing. In my mind, this is a no-brainer. It is also common sense. Those who work in this sector interact with the public as part of their jobs. The ease of which both the medical professionals and the patients can catch and spread the virus is mind blowing. If g-d forbid I get the virus, I can isolate for two weeks, keep it to myself, and still do my job from home. They can’t.
I understand the reason for the hesitation. Most vaccines take about a decade before it is released to the public. For obvious reasons, the Covid-19 vaccine was developed much faster. However, I would think that given where they work and the rising numbers of cases due to the Delta variant, why wouldn’t they get the shot? Frankly, it would easier to just get it done than submit to weekly testing.
If we would use our g-d given brains, we would have potentially stopped this disease a long time ago. But because we didn’t, people continue to get sick and more lives will be lost.
March 11th, 2020 was the last time I was in the office. I took off for a long weekend and was not sure what the next Monday would bring. Returning home that Sunday, I saw an email from my company’s CEO that we had the option to work from home. I could have gone back to the office, but the signs were all pointing to working remotely, at least for the time being.
If there was a way to tell my past self that any and all interactions for the next year with my colleagues would be via the computer, I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have said maybe it would have been a month, maybe two. But not a year.
I am more than grateful to be employed with full benefits. The fact that I am able to earn my paycheck while staying safe is increases that feeling ten fold. But not everyone is so fortunate.
The truth is that I am ready to go back to the office. I miss the face to face interaction. I miss the non-work conversations that happen while in passing or in the kitchen. Of course it means getting up earlier, riding the subway, and having to put some thought into my clothes.
Readers, I would love to know your opinion. If you have been working from home, are you ready to go back to the office? Or are you content to stay in your home office?
Before Covid-19, working from home for some of us happened only occasionally. Since March, those of us who are still employed and can work from home have adjusted to a much shorter commute.
But, there is a catch. Parents have had to balance their jobs while making sure that their children continue to receive a decent education. Which as any number of parents have attested to over the last few months, is far from easy.