social distance skeleton crew, day one
Monday, March 16 2020
The office where I work was officially closed today to support "social distancing," though my boss Alex had asked me to come in anyway to help with a peak in municipal tax season (I have become something of an expert in the art of tax data importation). There ended up just being three of us in the office: Alex, me, and the new guy Rich. Fortunately for me (given the morbidity profile of the coronavirus), I am actually the youngest of those three. I was also the only one in the office with a persistent cough, though Gretchen insists that it can't possibly be from coronavirus because it is not "dry." That cough had been steadily diminishing since my late-February illness, but today it actually seemed to have gotten slightly worse, at least judging by the size of the hunks of phlegm I was producing. The software I'd written to do the tax imports mostly did the work for me, and I could instead concentrate on doing things like reflexively checking the stock market (it was another, blacker Monday). But at one point I had to save the day by figuring out that a certain import required a checkbox to be checked in its configuration. In addition to the three of us humans, Ramona the Dog was also there, mostly being good (though early this morning she'd decided to pull a bunch of trash out Alex's trash can in pursuit of some stale pieces of bread.
There had been talk on Slack among the Mεrcy For Anιmals IT diaspora of having happy hour, so a little after 5:00pm, I asked if anyone wanted to do happy hour then because "Admit it, you're not doing any work." It was unusually early for a happy hour, particularly since half the people who do happy hour are on the West Coast (where it was still early afternoon). But we ended up having a happy hour anyway. It was fairly short as happy hours go, but it was good to connect with friends in a manner completely incapable of spreading the coronavirus. And coronavirus was mostly all we talked about. Both Cameron and Allison are single, and it's clearly traumatizing to go through this crisis alone. Allison, who now lives in Miami, wondered if perhaps she should head for the hills, perhaps with her on-again/off-again boyfriend Pickle Matt to some remote place she knows about in South Carolina. It sounded like the kind of decisionmaking one might do during a zombie apocalypse. In keeping with the spirit of the times, I was drinking a Corona beer, complete with lime. (The Iranians have been using a different kind of lime to disinfect the bodies of coronavirus victims they've been piling into trenches visible from space.)
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