Yesterday I sat in front of my PC camera having a Zoom call with the rest of my staff. After asking myself how I was doing with self-quarantine, and reassuring myself that this time that idiot will lose the White House, we got down to a discussion of reopening the office.
As moderator, I noted that since there is only one of me, social distancing within the office was totally not necessary. In fact, it was impossible. Nevertheless, I made myself sign a disclaimer releasing me from all liability should I contract COVID from myself. That gave me the distinct feeling the company really doesn’t care about my well-being and had not done such a good job of keeping the office sanitized.
This was followed by a long discussion of whose job is essential and who needs to return to the office, and who could turn around and go back to sleep on the brown faux leather couch. Naturally, everyone positioned their job as essential, since there is an undercurrent of fear that those with non-essential jobs could be the target of layoffs. Nothing is worse than firing yourself.
There was general agreement that wearing a mask is non-negotiable, but we had to beat back the claims of our Southern heritage that having to wear a mask is a violation of our constitutional rights (don’t ask which one), and that the pandemic is a Democratic hoax anyway. That jump-started a loud and angry debate that only ended when my blue state self told my red state self that I was spending too much time watching Fox News.
I tried to raise the issue that the only office I had was at home, and that going back to the office would mean that I simply kept going back to the same room 12 hours a day. There was very little sympathy from those who have to take mass transit from the bedroom to the office, but we all agreed I should check my temperature as soon as I arrived, just to be on the safe side.
We debated the merits of getting tested, but no one could agree on what was being tested and what we were supposed to do with the results. “It only tells you that you don’t have it TODAY,” I insisted. “You could get it tomorrow and the rest of us would never know.” Since we couldn’t reach a consensus, we put it to a vote, but the tally kept coming back 1 for and 1 against, so we tabled the testing issue for the next call.
Needless to say, that we are planning a next call did not go over well with those of us who are sick and tired of Zoom calls (although we spend much of them catching up on Twitter). It takes a well-formed set of personality disorders and delusions to ignore yourself while you are speaking to yourself — and there is always the off-chance you will catch yourself picking your nose on camera.
We ended the call agreeing that we will reopen the office only when it is completely safe. So, September. Or January. Or next summer. Or, since I am in South Carolina, 2025.