Wednesday, April 22, 2020

New Experiences During the Pandemic

It's interesting how many new experiences I have had since March 13.  March 13 was the last day of school before spring break, and it turned out to be the last day of school for the academic year.  The last day I went into a store to shop for groceries was March 22.  The last day I went into any store was March 25, when I quickly ducked into Westlake Ace Hardware to get vegetable seeds.

I am the type of person who resists change, and I tend not to try new experiences unless I am forced.  Due to school closure plus my own excessive paranoia, I have used a number of apps and services which I previously would have never tried.

I have used these apps or services for the first time since March 13.

Shipt

I cannot go into my local grocery store due to my self-imposed lockdown.  I signed up for Shipt, which is $8 per month.  I discovered quickly how hard it is to get a time reserved, since many other people are also using Shipt as well.  I found that I needed to get an order ready to go even when times were not available.  Once a time became available, I could grab the time and complete checkout.

Walmart Grocery Pickup

The two nearest Walmart supercenters are a little different with respect to time availability.

One store only goes 48 hours in advance with available times, which means that usually no times are available.  However, the next available day opens up at midnight.  When I want to get groceries from that store, I prepare the order in advance and then complete checkout just after midnight. 

The other supercenter is a far busier store, reputedly the busiest one in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.  That store has times set up for up to 96 hours in advance, so I can usually grab a time for around three days away when I wish to use that store.

Zoom

We have done faculty meetings via Zoom.

Google Voice

I use the Google Voice app to communicate with parents without sharing my cell number.  Google Voice assigns me a local phone number, which is what the recipient sees.  All calls and text messages go to the app.

iHeart Radio

Since I am not driving, I am using iHeart on my phone to listen to the radio when I feel inclined to do so. 

Netflix

Since I live in Oklahoma, I cannot get away from the talk about Joe Exotic. So of course I had to get Netflix so that I could watch Tiger King.  I have known about Joe for years, but he's even more screwed up than I realized.  Yikes.

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I have some thoughts.

1.  The political division in the United States is now so extreme that even a crisis cannot unite us.  That's quite sad.

2.  Life isn't fair.  During the initial stage of this experience, I felt a little bitter about having to stay home.  I quickly realized how fortunate I am.  I can stay home.  I am getting paid, and I don't have to work.  What isn't fair is that many people must work and put them themselves at risk.  It's also not fair that people have lost their jobs and are having trouble with unemployment claims.  Oklahoma's unemployment website is unbelievably screwed up with many people not getting through.

The following article gives perspective on how much harder this experience is for people in other parts of the world.

'I am so afraid': India's poor face world's largest lockdown

The article has been on my mind since I read it last week.

3.  I very much miss my hectic, stressful spring schedule.  I'd rather have that than be dealing with this. 

4.  We all take so much for granted in our normal lives. 

5.  I never had any concept of what actually living through a pandemic would be like.  I wish I was still ignorant like I was at the very beginning of the year.

6.  I am enjoying not selling books online.  It's been about a month since I last took a package to the post office.  This is the longest stretch between online sales for me since around 1998.  That's a long time.

I do want to sell books again, but I enjoy not having to mess with difficult buyers or packing books.  It's a nice break.

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