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The Suburban Timezone

Another Lost Normalcy

“Time” itself has become one more contested piece of reality during the Covid-19 Pandemic. After the initial shock-wave of unsettling awareness that broke over my community wore down to a benign status, the meaning of time had became an early casualty.

Like so much of the Pandemic, the impact has been so subjective, and challenges are so dependent on economic position and geography. Even in my neighborhood, the divides between employment type or status became so visible. As many of my neighbor’s cars remained in the morning, some hardly changed their routines. Even while my life slammed into a digitized, deeply localized space, people in my household continued their traditional work schedules. While I adapted to the best Zoom angles and ways to maintain internet stability, they adapted to disinfection procedures and mask requirements.

Time moved differently for each of us. And as the pandemic slowed much of society down, the potential for time to reassert itself in the environment was abundant.

My iPhone Homescreen:
The One True Clock, Pre-Covid

Back To Basics

The natural beat of the environment was the most incredible clock. When no other metrics made sense, time found me inevitably through observation. The sun would set, the grass would grow, plants would change, the Earth would spin. Despite the chaos channeled constantly through the TV and radio, and the push notifications frantically marking every nuance of Covid’s disruption, the natural world around my town marched on, undeterred.

Beyond preserving my sanity, this provided a sense of universal perspective. Humans have relied on nature for a sense of time throughout history and across every part of the world. Despite the unmistakable privileges of suburban life, there was still a deep connection to all humanity. Putting the phone down, turning off the news sirens, made me appreciate this one piece of reality.

Sunset: One Day
The Start of the Week
The End of the Week
20-30 Days
(Delicious)

Perspective on History

Applying a historical perspective on this year will be require that awareness of subjectivity. This wave washed over us day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month, and we now possess the value of hindsight, and crucial knowledge on this novel virus that we did not have in months prior. Much the same, initial awareness, perspectives on personal risk, expectations for the duration of this crisis, and the extent of its impacts were not universal, and are still evolving.

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