From the Useless Statistics Department: We drove our car a grand total of 42 miles during the month of May. Yikes! We did finally buy gas for the first time since March in order to use up some of our Fuelpoints, but only needed 7.5 gallons. But I got it for only $6 so it was still a deal. I suspect we’ll be doing a little more driving in June. At least I hope so…I’ll have more Fuelpoints to use! 🙂
We spent this morning watching the approach and docking of the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. It is quite a historic event and a long-overdue accomplishment for our country. Nice to see some fantastic photos and video to document a positive event in our history.
One of the things I’ve been impressed with during this corona-crisis is the resilience of people and what they have done during this time. No, most of us haven’t learned to speak Italian or Spanish, but many people have found interesting things to do. Some of my neighbors are rediscovering old hobbies or dusting off cookbooks and getting reacquainted with their kitchens. Monte was writing the other day about replacing the coffee shop routine with visits to the countryside in the early morning or late evening. Earl and Cedric have been revisiting old photographs – sometimes finding lost photos filed in the wrong folder! – and reworking them to make new art.
Of course there are downsides, but I try to not dwell on those.
We learned yesterday that our libraries will reopen on June 1, albeit with very limited services including only allowing one person at a time in the building. That’s OK with me, as right now I just want to return two physical books that I’ve had since February. All of my other reading has been on my Kindle. It will be nice to get the books off our living room table!
Kathy & I haven’t been frequent pool-goers in any of the neighborhoods we’ve lived. But this year we had decided we were going to use the one in our current neighborhood more. Of course it has not yet reopened for the season so we walk past it every day. Some kind of hoopla between the HOA board, the pool company and attorneys. But it gives some of the neighbors something new to talk about! 😉
This week Kathy & I pulled the plug on our October cruise and cleared the travel slate completely. We’re planning a trip to the beach, thinking that renting and living in a condo down there for a week will give us a similar insulation from others to living at home while providing a change of scenery. We need a change of scenery.
We’re hoping that things loosen up a bit across the country in June and July and are hoping to bag a few more states. Unfortunately the ones we still need are in the far corners of the country. But fortunately most of the states are wide-open spaces, so as long as we can get gas, get food and sleep, we might be able to put together a nice drive without a lot of people-ing.
We were greeted this morning with word of a new tropical storm off the coast and headed our way – TS Bertha. Looks like more rain and cool weather for the next few days. Things get interestinger and interestinger…. 😉
I’m looking forward to watching the SpaceX launch this afternoon. Weather forecast looks iffy there, too, but we’ll see. Kathy & I had discussed the possibility of driving down and finding a place to stay for the week, but decided that was probably too far, too soon. We just missed a launch a few years ago. We had gotten off a cruise ship in Port Canaveral that morning, found a place at a roadside park across from the space center and were ready to go, but the launch was scrubbed with 11 second remaining. As Maxwell Smart would have said, “missed it by that much!” 😉
I learned a new (for me) term the other day: “Virtue Signaling.” Virtue Signaling is defined by Urban Dictionary as “To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else.”
This is the term for how I see the attitudes of some people regarding the wearing or not wearing of face coverings. To be clear, I am not questioning or judging the efficacy of masks, nor am I suggesting that they should or should not be worn or required. In my opinion it is personal choice, and I acknowledge that there are times and places where they should probably be used. There are countries and cultures where everyone wears a mask during flu season and during other times. In those places it is normal and expected, and done without an air of superiority or inference of inferiority.
I am instead referring to the outwardly superior attitudes of many who wear a mask and then frown on those who have chosen to not wear them, and also to the opposite experiences of those who have chosen to wear a mask, only to be ridiculed by those who have chosen to not wear one. I haven’t experienced it personally but have read and heard about it happening to others.
The bandwagon chant of the pro-maskers suggests that not wearing a mask displays a disregard for others, and that wearing a mask signifies a compassionate person looking out for his/her fellow man. But the choice of whether to wear a mask or not is just one symbol. We were all supposed to be staying home during the last several months. Kathy & I have mostly stayed home, while others we know gas-butt around town like nothing has changed. Does wearing a mask make that OK? I feel like we have done more to protect others by staying home and minding our own business, mask or not, than those who have gone to the grocery store or the takeout restaurants every day, sometimes multiple times a day. By comparison, we’ve hardly been anywhere to get exposed to the virus.
Kathy & I have masks but so far have not worn them. It is our hope that we will never need to wear them. If we go to a place that requires them, we will make a choice. If it is important enough we will wear them. If not, we will go somewhere else or do without. I see it as a matter of our choice based on our own perceived level of risk – both of exposing ourselves and of exposing others. Other than that we will keep our mouths shut and mind our own business, and hope that others will do the same.
I’ve been reading and thinking lately about how the ability to work from home will influence the future of work, and in particular the future of commercial real estate. For nearly all of my work career, there was never a thought given to the ability to work somewhere other than the office.
The concept of “butts in seats” never occurred to companies in the 80’s and 90’s up until just a few years ago, because we worked at work. Even my most recent manager, with half of his team already working in remote locations around the country, was highly resistant to the idea of his Charlotte team working remote except for extreme circumstances. He once admonished me for wanting to work remotely from an out-of-town B&B on a Monday before a Tuesday holiday, reasoning that I was “really on vacation” and should just take a vacation day. Things might be different now., but my theory was that with a phone and a laptop, know one knows where you are working from and it shouldn’t matter. That is proving to be true for a lot of workers.
The idea of a Corporate Headquarters has traditionally been a reflection of the huge budgets and egos of the corporate elite. Bank of America has the tallest building in Charlotte at 60 stories tall, and why wouldn’t they? Depending on the day they trade places with JPMorgan Chase as the largest bank in the US. The building is a monument to the empire of Hugh McColl and the company he created. Down the street the building that is now the Duke Energy Center started off to be the new headquarters of Wachovia. We know how that turned out.
But right now all of those buildings are mostly sitting empty. People have been told not to expect to go back to the office any time soon. So what will happen to all that office space? Good question. Companies have started to realize that space is expensive. Add to that the potential cost of refitting workspaces to meet new health rules, new cleaning requirements and the potential of workplace-illness-related litigation, suddenly all that office space starts looking pretty unattractive. And companies are realizing that shifting occupancy costs to their employees will save them some Big Money, allowing the Big Wigs to get even Bigger Bonuses.
It’s just the beginning of that cycle, I’d guess. It will be interesting to see which way and how far it goes.
I took the day off from thinking yesterday, so I don’t have a lot to say this morning. But I did manage to take some pictures on this morning’s walk.
I have a “goal” in my step tracker of 5,000 steps per day. That isn’t much by some standards, but it is good enough for me. Most days I exceed it by several thousand, earlier this week I actually went over 10,000. I think today will mark 54 days in a row. Every day since March 1.
I’ve decided we’ve had enough of the B&W for now, so I’m going to switch to color. I’m hoping to keep shooting and posting new stuff but may have to resort to the archives on occasion.
One of our neighbor’s houses has a beautiful display of these orange lilies in front, and I snuck up the driveway before anyone was awake to catch me. 🙂