If the Covid - 19 Pandemic did anything, besides making a lot of people sick and taking lives, it changed the way we think about social interaction. At the time of writing this article, businesses all across the country are still closed, or at best operating with conditions.
Our NC Governor had a problem with the Republican Convention being held here in Charlotte and mandated "social distancing"-- thus causing the convention to be moved and going with it, some 150 million in revenue for merchants who desperately needed it.
"Social Distancing." I have grown quite tired of hearing that term, as well as nonstop coverage about this problem. Still, the fact remains, in order to stay safe, some different practices from what we as a society held as normal needed to be put in place.
Most obvious was the catastrophic effect "shelter in place" had on our economy.
In January of 2020, we were just churning along, the stock market was poised to break 30,000 for the first time in history. Then coronavirus. I, along with the rest of the country and the world watched stock prices plummet, all the while feeling helpless and unsure of what would happen next.
Business started closing, particularly service industry jobs like restaurants, bars, hair and nail salons, and well as large gatherings like sporting events and concerts. That last one really hurts, right? Companies by the thousands sent their employees home and had them work from there.
Meetings in conference rooms were replaced by Zoom meetings, video conferences and conference calls. Emails poured back and forth like water through a sieve. People were staying home. And oddly enough, the work continued like nothing had ever happened.
Again, at the time of writing, North Carolina has begun to open back up. To a point anyway. Let's say provisionally. While it is possible to go in a restaurant, sit at a table and be served, it is being done conditionally. About half the tables are closed. Six feet between tables must be observed. We are in "phase two" of our return to normal.
What, exactly, will normal look like as our country moves forward? When I reached out to the members of the Carolina Audio Society, many indicated they would not be attending any gathering or listening session until 2021 - and only then if it was safe to do so. That is what this is all about, right? Staying safe. Who can find fault with that?
Many businesses with huge overhead in office space are being really cagy about having their employees return back to work, back to their office, back to the ole 9 to 5. I wonder if the new norm will be more centered around working from home via online meetings, conference calls, and "social distancing," as opposed to what we considered normal in, say, December 2019?
It is certainly possible that companies have awakened to the idea that many employees can be relocated to their home, office space may be reduced or eliminated completely, money might be saved and the obvious claims of "look how we are making society better" may be made.
It is also certainly possible we as a society may be spending more time at home to avoid the "inevitable outbreak" predicted sometime in the future, and the certain death and destruction that will follow. If, of course, that ever happens.
How does this benefit audiophiles?
Isn't it obvious? If we do in fact change our normal routines of being away from home most of the time to being at home most of the time, doesn't it follow that having something to do while ensconced within those walls makes sense?
Is not spending an hour or two, or even more, listening to wonderful music wonderfully presented not a welcomed relief from boredom? Zoom cocktail hour is one thing but is that really a better way for an audiophile to spend time than with the system? Probably doing both makes sense but for me, I would plan on lots of system time.
Personally, I think once Covid - 19 moves from page one to page three, then five and no coverage at all, we will return to what is so very familiar. We will resume our way of life "pre-virus." If we do not, however, if we develop a way of living that places us at home for work and play, if something like that happens, better be sure your system is operating at its peak. You'll have lots of time to listen to music. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that.