It turns out there is life after the coronavirus. This past week in Laurel, Maryland, was really different. Governor Hogan issued an order halting non-essential businesses from operating. As a law firm, we are able to work, though mostly working remotely. Many routines have changed.
Meetings other than to sign documents are now held by video conferences. When legal documents need to be signed, like wills, trusts, and health care documents, they are no longer regular meetings but are instead abbreviated to minutes; pens are sterilized; gloves are made available; safe distances are maintained; and surfaces are cleaned before and after use.
My wife Margie’s birthday was Monday. We had our first attempted Virtual Birthday Party. It was great to see our children, from whom we have needed to maintain social distance. However, there were awkward pauses where nobody talked. At a regular party, these would be less noticeable, as you can grab a snack, or drink, or wander off. Here we were all were just staring at one another, and it was noticed.
Video conferencing is a new skill. We have done video calls before, but now almost all my client interactions are in this mode. It is helpful, but the learning curve on using video conferencing reminds me of something that you may or may not understand. For those old enough to have watched Don Adams as “Get Smart” the infamous “Cone of Silence” always comes to mind. It was a top-secret communication device that functions very poorly if at all.
Now the first few minutes of a call are like trying to talk an inexperienced person through how to land a plane. We usually get there successfully, but it isn’t pretty. However, as I have told my friends and family, it is a life skill we all need to master because that is how most doctor visits will occur for the unknown future.
At the grocery store, people are super polite and maintaining a safe distance. Listening to the traffic reports on the radio is almost comical. Like a Southern California weatherman, things are suddenly all the same. It will be a sunny beautiful day, almost always. Here the traffic reporter suddenly has nothing to report on the roadways. No problems on the Beltway, 95, the parkway, even in Northern Virginia.
All this life after the coronavirus has an otherworldly feel, at least for now.
We will adjust. When I was 12 our family went on a cross country camping trip for six weeks. God bless my parents. It was a great experience we all still share stories about. My youngest brother was then a toddler. I knew this was an unusual temporary departure from the day-to-day. He had no idea, and after a few days, we were nomads to him. Moving on endlessly with our tether to normal very limited. The toddler moved on quickly, us older folks not so much.
As one week moves to the next what was unusual isn’t any more. We are learning new routines, hopefully quite temporary, but who knows. We will hear of people we know getting the virus, more and more, and some of those may well perish.
Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Be safe, brave and patience, and if need be, patient, with your life after the coronavirus. This too shall pass.