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24-3-2020 13:46:21  #1

Typing in a COVID-19 World

The current and unceasing bad news concerning the spreading coronavirus pandemic is something none of us will soon forget.

I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread where our international typing community could share their personal experiences with COVID-19 so far, and how they have been coping with the bleak situation.

I live in Toronto, Canada. At the moment we have relatively few confirmed cases, and thankfully not many deaths. Regardless, our government has taken prudent and drastic measures; all non-essential businesses have closed and everyone has been asked to self-isolate in their homes.

Since I work from home anyway, this hasn't changed my day-to-day life all that much. My wife who normally works in the downtown business core has been forced to work from home and that's a big change for her. We had to set up a home office for her in a hurry, and while the limitations of not being in the office has presented challenges, she's managing fairly well.

When stores began to close there was a surge of hoarding at our local supermarket. Out of curiosity I surveyed the aftermath. The sections of the store that had been completely cleaned out included: fresh chicken, rice, flour, peanut butter, pasta, frozen vegetables, and of course toilet paper.

I can understand (but can't condone) why people would hoard most of those items, but am confused by the need for flour.

The one ridiculous item is the toilet paper. According to psychologists toilet paper became a panic icon; it was something that those who believed they had lost control could buy to feel as if they had regained it.

I've personally not changed my buying habits. I filled the car with gas, and don't frequent the supermarket as often, which means I buy a little more than normal to lengthen the time between visits (venturing out now requires the implementation of safety measures that are a hassle).

The roads are deserted - as if it was a national holiday - but there are many more people walking around the neighbourhood now.

One other thing that has also increased but really angers me is hacker activity. These animals are themselves a virus. Presumably most must have day jobs, and now that they are confined to their homes they feel the best use of their time is to ruin the lives of others.

Attempts to spam and hack into this forum have quadrupled in the past week, as have attempts to hack the websites that I run. This is truly the dark side of humans. At a time when it is most important to support others, to remain calm, and maintain a sense of normalcy, these losers have intensified their counter-productive efforts.

This post is far longer than I had intended it to be - I apologize for that. It would be great to hear from other forum members - please share! 


24-3-2020 14:57:41  #2

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

Thank you, Uwe. Here in northern New England, USA, life is pretty normal. My wife and I have run our business out of our home, electronically, for the last 30 years and "home" is in a semi-rural area in a low population area, so the anxiety level is quite manageable. Things are quiet on the streets and in what stores remain open. It helps that winter is winding down, so cabin fever is not a factor. There are so far no cases of COVID19 in our county, although also no testing of asymptomatic people. All in all, we feel very fortunate in these circumstances. I think our concern is what happens when the economy reacts in concrete ways.

Flour is a staple that is used to make another, more interesting, staple, bread, and I am impressed that so many people are apparently going to dive in and make bread. Things even more interesting than bread are going to require more, different, ingredients which aren't on your list of cleaned-out items.


24-3-2020 16:39:50  #3

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

In Germany, near Frankfurt/Main, situation is similar. People are hoarding toilet paper, flour and yeast. Why? Nobody knows. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Streets are pretty empty, most shops are closed, as are restaurants. But you can order and get your food or books delivered. I have CLL, so I am in the risk group and work from home since last wednesday, and that ist pretty great. We didn’t change our buying habits, either. Hopefully the shutdown will flatten the curve, soon - without damaging the economy too much. 


24-3-2020 17:17:12  #4

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

Here, in my part of England at least, there have been very few recorded cases.  Selfish 'locusts' have been stripping the shelves in shops and supermarkets, leaving old people, the disabled and emergency service workers without.  Now that almost everything has gone, shops are beginning to ration !  As of today, the whole country is in 'lockdown', although since although a law about moving around won't be passed in Parliament until Thursday, all the police can do if they stop someone is wag their finger and tell them to go home.  After Thursday it will be arrest and fine.  My repairs business has fallen off a cliff in the last two weeks.  I have sold two typewriter ribbons by post in all that time.  Since I work from home, not a lot has changed and I am now working on 'stock' typewriters for sale when things return to normal - if they ever do  !  If I run out of work, I can always get on with some house decorating - I have stocked up on wallpaper not toilet paper


24-3-2020 18:31:43  #5

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

I live north of Seattle, in the Everett area, where the first case was discovered. Pretty much everything fun has been shut down. But we have a nice home, and we've been retired for a couple of years, so we are used to puttering around and finding things to do around the house. I've been doing minor cleaning to my typewriters, and typing random notes about the state of the world. 


24-3-2020 18:32:21  #6

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

Discovered in the USA, that is what I should have said. 


28-3-2020 16:11:06  #7

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

Very new here but thought I'd share my experience anyway.

I'm an artist and poet in Portland, Oregon and due to our proximity to Seattle/confirmed cases in Oregon things have changed pretty dramatically. It does feel bleak and can sometimes be overwhelming -- especially for someone with chronic health problems such as myself who are high risk. 

Most store are shut down / reduced to limited hours with limited number of people allowed in the building at a time to encourage both people to stay home and to allow for proper distancing when you have to go out (think grocery stores, banks, etc). Myself and most of my friends/family have been either laid off or zero-houred at their jobs with the exception of my partner who works at a grocery store deemed a necessary service and is currently getting a small bonus on his paychecks but not enough to really make up for me losing my income (baker at a pastry shop/cafe and since I was hired not too long ago I was the first to be let go)

As for the supermarket hoarding that has definitely been an issue here. I recommend looking for asian grocers in your area who likely are not sold out (thanks racism) and where we have been buying our groceries from. Things that will be sold out regardless where you shop here: rice, beans, toilet paper, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, and wipes.

I've been using my time to focus on home projects (like my typewriter) and trying to soothe myself and others through my work, both writing and art. I started a small poetry by mail project called The Poesy Post when friends/internet folks can send me their address and I post them a letter of a couple poems and ephemera like stickers or cool vintage papers. I think it's most important at this time to nourish our communities as much as we can. I've also been baking at home more and offering to bake things for people and deliver them to their house (drop off on porch or similar no-contact) to again support my community as much as I can.

Portland is also thankfully very active when it comes to community organizing so its been easy to connect and engage with people and help each other out while still being safe/reducing spread/flattening the curve. Wherever y'all live I would recommend reaching out and finding the helpers and see how you can contribute to the health of your communities even when staying inside. Chances are there are people who need the things you're good at!

But on the flipside, I have also seen a very real and sad effect of living under such a suffocating stage of late-capitalism which is feeling "not productive enough" during isolation that I wish more people would cut themselves some slack on. Perhaps it's due to being primarily in creative circles, but a lot of my associates feel this massive pressure that now that they 'have the time' they should be finishing their novels, painting a series, making a film, whatever have you and while yes it's great if you can utilize the time to engage with your passions, people need to be kind to themselves and realize this is a literal world crises and everything has been upended. You're allowed to be upset, and you're allowed to grieve. I've witnessed some early signs of self-induced burnout in friends simply because they feel like this is precious time that they are wasting if they do not use every second of it! But rest/down time is so important as well (especially for your health!)

I will also say the whole situation has made me angry. Angry that services and accommodations myself and others have needed and were told were not possible/reasonable are now handed out left and right. Angry that our government was not better prepared nor has adequately responded. That so many people in fact profited from the wake of destruction and will continue to profit from the eugenic decisions enacted on the poor and disabled who come in contact while those in power can receive testing and care at the drop of a hat. 

But as I try to stay grounded, to focus on being one of those helpers, on working towards mending, I am thankful for the shift in perception that is happening. The loud voices of political nationalists who are realizing their beloved country was never as great as they thought. That their bigotry will not protect them from a virus. That they too can and will be affected by this crisis. I am hopeful that when we as a nation and even greater as a world come through this, we can be stronger together. I have to believe that things will get better. And I will continue to make them better as long as I'm here.


29-3-2020 17:30:22  #8

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

Not to trivialize your post, but I have to mention that I loved the series "Portlandia".

There is certainly a chasm when it comes to the attitudes and practices of people during this global crisis. During a time when most around me were utilizing strict safeguards, it was shocking to watch the news and see crowded beaches in Florida during Spring Break.

When interviewed by reporters, the unanimous sentiment of these fools was that a virus wasn't going to prevent them from having fun and living. Their reasoning came from a place of ignorance, selfishness, and just plain stupidity.  

Normally I would mention Darwinism, and how these Darwin Award candidates might get what they deserved, but unfortunately with coronavirus they are as likely to end up infecting - even killing - those who are being responsible. How many of them still live with their parents - and will be in contact with grandparents?

I don't know if it's true, but a friend told me that New Orleans also held its Mardi Gras.

In both cases it's easy to point a finger at greed and those who value profit over safety. An intelligent and responsible politician would never have allowed these events to take place in their community, but those are two characteristics that are rarely found these days in elected officials.

     Thread Starter

29-3-2020 18:21:13  #9

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

Not to mention the huge prayer meetings being held around the world to scare the virus away. It certainly is tempting to invoke Darwin here, as well as Gaia. I cannot accept any concept of intention here, but there is the concept of a body fighting off an invasion, congestion, and a natural tendency to right an unbalanced condition. When you consider that a condition of the rapid spread of this is unavoidable proximity and easy travel....


30-3-2020 16:52:22  #10

Re: Typing in a COVID-19 World

I watched an Al Jazeera interview yesterday with Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme. When he was asked about the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was a weaponized, man made virus, his reply described in a nutshell how we only have ourselves to blame:

"... there is no evidence whatsoever at the moment that this is anything other than a virus that has emerged from nature. We tend to look for these explanations in situations when there is such a horrific event, but the reality is - and this has always been the reality - that we human beings have behaved in a way over the past number of years that has stressed the environment.

"We have invaded the human-animal interface, we've allowed diseases to cross into humans, and when those diseases do crossover from animals to humans those diseases can amplify in poorly equipped health facilities, they can amplify in peri-urban slums, they can amplify among stressed refugee populations, and then they can spread because we are connected globally.

"The problem we have right now is man made. The problem right now is that we have left ourselves vulnerable to emerging diseases. The diseases themselves are entirely natural, but the situation in which these diseases are spreading are because we human beings have created the conditions in which these diseases can spread and cause tremendous damage to our health systems, to our economies, to our social systems, and most importantly deaths amongst those we love." [/color][/color][/color]

     Thread Starter

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