Brown on Business
August 3-9, 2020
Time is just an illusion in COVID-19 warped world
By Wesley Brown
A common refrain on social media these days is how Anno Domino (AD) 2020 keeps on giving us historical landmines that will live forever in the annals of time.
Who would have thought just a year ago that America would be caught in some virtual time-lock that has suspended all sense of what we thought was real or important since an invisible pandemic first made hand-washing and Lysol as valuable as gold.
And when 2021 finally rolls around five months from now, there will likely be a huge sigh of relief as people began to look back over the past year and wonder what in the world just happened. Hoarding toilet paper, face mask, ground beef, chicken wings, Coke and Clorox was never supposed to be a thing – but it is now.
No one –and I mean no one – could have predicted that when the clock struck twelve on Jan. 1, 2020, that COVID-19, Zoom, social distancing, virtual funerals, Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Roger Stone, global pandemic, and Dr. Anthony Fauci would push the November president election to the Page Two on our digital media feeds.
For me, the strangest phenomenon I have encountered since “that day” is that I no longer have daily and weekly guideposts to mark my place in time. Sunday morning no longer feels like Sunday morning because I am not teaching Sunday School lessons on Sunday morning at my local church.
Manic Monday’s with all its usual worries and anxieties to jumpstart the actual work week are no longer the starting line for my normal weekly routine that begins with the 25-minute commute from west to downtown Little Rock. My car, once a familiar friend that opens the doors to all life’s adventures, is now an actual stranger in my own garage.
On Tuesday, instead of that weekly round of evening golf with my friends, I am left to seek out other ways to spend four hours in a time spell telling well-worn tales of earlier athletic feats and solving all the world’s problems. Never my favorite day of the week, or even a Taco event, I now only remember Tuesday’s when it is bookmarked for some virtual event I have come to despise.
Wednesday, because of my weekly church and family Zoom meetings, now serves as the king-day of the week. No longer just a mid-week “hump-day” that brightens up office environment with visions of the Geico camel in my head, Wednesday is the one sane day where I pause a few hours from having conversations with Abbey (my 16-year old Schnoodle) to interacting with actual people – albeit virtually.
Concerning Thursday. (See Tuesday).
Out of all the weeks of the day, I am really having the most problems with Friday, which has always been my favorite day of the week other than Sunday. Friday now has no meaning, especially not enough to say, TGIF or Thank God! In fact, Friday is now just downright frustrating because I cannot find her – yes, she’s a beautiful and sexy woman – anywhere in my mind.
In reality, my Friday’s now often feel like Saturday and vice versa. If I want to, because of my remote working environment, I can sneak to the golf course on Friday morning without feeling guilty about being there. Where is the joy in that?
And what is most disturbing is that I got a sick feeling that Friday’s may never-ever feel the same way again. Me and her are now just like a long-lost love affair that I harken back to when we were at one with each other.
But that is not all. Where are the kids in the neighborhood getting off the bus on Friday, laughing about how they got conquered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and now have a whole weekend (Saturday and Sunday) to celebrate? No, Friday’s are not Happy or Aloha anymore, Friday is my new F-word.
And Saturday’s are not much better. This once distinct day that was the “ying” to Sunday’s yang, has no characteristics that are different from its other four brethren and Friday. In normal times, Saturday could say to most Americans that it did not like work and was not all “holier than thou” like Sunday, which often shuts down for all commerce to rest or worship.
In fact, Saturday once reveled in the fact that it was not Sunday. He was proud to hear preachers speaking of his evil ways in the pulpit on Sunday, smirking proudly that “thou shalt not be Saturday” is whispered by Father Time to Baby New Year at 11:50 p.m. on every Dec. 31.
But now, Saturday’s are feckless. No beers and barbeque on the patio. No ballgames on TV or soccer games at the park. No Calling the Hogs, not that that was ever a thing with me. But for those so choosing, Saturday was synonymous with such American pastimes and rights of passages on some ballfield in some college town in America.
Heck, in this upside-down world, fishermen and teetotalers are even taking time to social distance at their respective fishing hole and hole-in-the-wall on days other than sixth day; or seventh if you are an Adventist.
According to recent article in Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper, COVID-19 has warped all sense of time for many people across the globe. Highlighting a March 28 Twitter post from Bette Midler, the Hollywood star and actress captured my view of surreal Saturday and other days of the week.
“It is Saturday. I think,” tweeted Midler. “Like you, I find my days a blur, one day very similar to the next ... news, housework, bad news, emails, worry, phone calls, cooking, eating. It is surreal, only real. Am I in an episode of a reality show?”
Another Twitter post by Tonight Show host Stephen Colbert also summed up how most of us are feeling as time pours like molasses. “The last two weeks have been a strange ten years,” Colbert tweeted on April 3.
Colbert is right.
If there is such a thing as getting back to normal, or even a “new norm” that has become such a familiar phrase, maybe the first order of business will be for the mayor, governor or president to issue an executive order that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, will go back to being what they use to be.
Until then, I hope someone will invent a Zoom-life virtual reality experience soon that can “beam” us back to when days of the week kept their place in time.