I’ve read descriptions of life in wartime that have a remarkable consistency regardless of what era they come from.
Civilians and combatants alike talk about life contracting into a limited bubble – your immediate environment, the tasks that must be accomplished in the next few hours or days. The big picture is unavailable and therefore unimportant. Far away people and places become abstractions or fade from your thoughts.
I’ve read about this effect, but never experienced it. At least until now.
I was listening to the radio the other day and the announcer gave the typical Bay Area weather forecast: conditions in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Napa, the seaside villages of the coast, and San Jose.
Editor Sean Scully reflects on the ups and downs of working remotely.
I’ve heard exactly this kind of forecast uncounted times, but this one sounded strange to my ears. I wondered briefly why we were even talking about San Jose.
Somehow San Jose seemed so very far away.
I don’t know why I fixated on San Jose. Until last month, it was a city that I might visit on rare occasions, to check out some new brewery or catch an unusual museum. It’s not a place that looms large in my mental geography, but it exists somewhere on the edge of my consciousness.
But suddenly, listening to that weather forecast, it seems exotic and remote. Details about weather conditions in San Jose seemed as useless to me as a forecast for Denver, or London, or Beijing. Silicon Valley is now as remote and inaccessible as any place on earth.
We're trying to keep you informed in a time of crisis even while doing our part to halt the coronavirus, editor Sean Scully says.
Just as surely as if we were facing a war, our lives have contracted into our tiny bubble in the time of virus.
This will probably sound familiar from your own household. My family and I have barely left the house for two weeks. The closest we’ve come to other people is waving from a polite distance.
We’re lucky to have jobs that can be done at home, but we can’t help but worry about how long this goes on. What does it mean for our jobs, our neighbors, our vibrant little communities?
It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, everything was normal, that it was possible to visit a grocery store every day, to meet friends in a restaurant, or walk downtown for coffee. That old world seems as remote and unreachable today as those far away cities that we can no longer visit.
Register Editor Sean Scully reflects on how we cover the disasters that seem to come around with increasing regularity.
But another lesson from those historical accounts of war is that this too will end. It is impossible to know exactly what the world will look like when it does, but at some point in the next weeks or months, it will be safe to come out and meet each other again.
So I’ll see you then. In the meantime, thanks for reading and allowing the Register to keep you informed during this crisis.
If you’re not a subscriber but you find what we’re doing to be meaningful in your life, please consider joining us as a member and helping support the important work of local journalism. napavalleyregister.com/members/join/.
You can reach Sean Scully at 256-2246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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