The commute will be less of a hassle over the next few months as workers succumb to fears and changes in employment policy.
The global demographic niche of teenagers has recently endured a prolonged bout of angst as two commodities necessary for a thriving survivability outside the confines of smartphones and social media, have reached the vortex of a feverish fanatic consumerism. The resulting onset of hysteria crafted masterfully by the 15-second news cycle stoking a nuclear holocaust of hysteria and a Black Friday run on basic household supplies.
Whether it is hyperbole or groupthink, or a eclectic combination of a Pavlovian affliction forcing shoppers to instinctively storm in WTO protestor style stampede hurling towards bottled water and toilet paper in apparent preparation for a blizzard, rather than a novel epidemic. The security camera footage and the smartphone accounts of the disturbing melees and desperate behaviors have actually reversed the natural progression of evolution, an impossibility of science flipped by the net lack of empathy displayed in the form of innumerable transgressions.
At least the neighborhoods spanning North America and Europe have inadvertently gained temporary immunity against the wrath of juveniles and the imperative bombardment of selected homes and trees with streams of toilet paper and dry ice bombs. As the resounding fears from the Coronavirus sweep throughout the population demographics, a solitary existence looms, and the delating defeatism and self-deprecation leads to further withdrawal within the impenetrable sanctuary of contrived inner peace. A similar phenomenon manifested by the typical chronic pain sufferer caving into the temporary intoxication and respite provided by opioids, when surgery would most likely relieve the ongoing feeling of malaise and suffering.
The plight of teenagers wandering aimlessly and languishing within the suburban weekend evenings in a preview of a sobering Zombiepocalypse in the absence of ammunition for teepeeing and shell casings for explosive dry ice, pales in comparison to the adults at the forefront of the self-quarantine craze of chaos hording basic supplies as if WWIII were on the horizon. And these socio-economic groups or individuals have no plans for leisurely activities with the materials, as everything is fire and brimstone, while society braces for an interlude with the hellfires of judgement day coerced by the evil forces of the universe. The prevalence of the three f’s is creating an unsettling environment with faithless leading to foolishness which culminates in fear. As many more answers that questions exists in gaining an understanding of whether or not the current epidemic is a simply a nastier version of the flu, or something more ominous and devious that could alter the course of the near future, large corporations are setting a precedent in demanding that employees work remotely, a directive a decade late in application and a comprehensive game changer. The only fact is not knowing at this point what the end game will be, but certainly the Coronavirus is not going away anytime soon.
The usual suspects of the Silicon Valley hundreds of billion dollar have recently adopted strict policy in regards to telecommuting in that every employee responsible for contributions on the digital construct of a corporate sever, must physically work from home or any location that is not technically owned by the company. Amazon, with corporate headquarters in Seattle was the first behemoth of the online giants to close their respective corporate campuses to any living an breathing employee with access to a reliable wi-fi connection, as a desperate and inane measure to halt the spread of the novel Coronavirus. This is just six years after Yahoo decided to ban the practice of the majority of staff from working from home. In a move that smacks of public relations scheming, and coupled with the fear mongering of the mainstream press, the tech realm has effectively activated a cascading trickle down panic cycle, where isolation is the only salvation in saving the world from complete annihilation. The quandary reveals its ugly head as the narrative surrounding the epidemic fits perfectly within the viral framework of the news business model.
As Ted Turner’s heavily funded media empire to offset the horrendous ratings, has crossed the threshold of the egregious to the deplorable in referencing the virus as a global pandemic, it is of no surprise that the reactionaries of the digital realm trade responsibility and feasibility for hastily duct taped oversights that are likely to spawn long-term repercussions that detrimentally affect the health of the fiscal markets in creating a debilitating economic downturn. The soothsayers in the multi-billion dollar news master control center are writing off the resistance and immune system of humanity in proclaiming doom in the next several months. The question remains, from a traffic concern, why the introverted nature of tech culture did not encourage a massive telecommuting campaign a decade ago, in alleviating congestion and reducing the “carbon footprint” a favorite catchphrase of copious slang embraced by the Green movement?
With the exception of the health industry, insurance carriers, hygienic paper manufacturers, and the bottled water consortium, the vast majority of marketplaces are flailing due to the month long shutdown of factories in China and the overall proliferation of fear. On a local scale, the reluctance of individuals to venture out into public or socialize in the wake of the increasing epidemic, is hurting the complete gamut of small businesses, as in tech havens such as Seattle, where tech workers make up a substantial percentage of the workforce and also account for an equal representation of walk up customers. The abrupt transformation towards the home office has at least temporarily compromised the short-term economic outlook. A pending crises if left unaddressed. Gas stations, coffee shops, gyms, bars, restaurants and clothing retailers all stand to lose bigtime with the prevalence or remote access software. Office space vacancy will increase, and self-driving vehicle manufacturers are waiting in anticipation to put the final nail in the coffin of the traditional commute.
As large state universities have shown the willingness to cave into the trending health scare and follow suit of the techies by closing campuses to live students, a curious precedent is possibly being set for the near future on and how society interacts. One of the detriments of humanity is the proclivity towards harboring disease, a testament to the sickening lulls of the cold and flu season, an accepted reality that is not conducive to enthusiasm. However, with the innovation and technology available to basically live in a nondescript box and socialize through devices, are the younger generations learning through painful examples and the sensationalization of news, especially the coverage of the Coronavirus, that socialization within the physical presence of a group or venturing to a public place does not outweigh the assumed risks?
As the state of mental health has been drastically altered by the strong connection and addiction to smartphones, social networking and communication applications, the famous AT&T slogan is coming into fruition though not as the telecommunications giant planned, as reaching out and touching someone has morphed into a metaphor for the entire disconnect with the traditional definition of interpersonal relationships. Fueled by instant gratification and a generalized madness, it is far more convenient and safe for individuals under 30 to swipe and greet 10 miles away, and opt not to shake hands or at least fist bump, gestures that are heading for extinction from the vault of social graces. This is condition is only exacerbated by the reactionaries of the climate activism lobbying to eliminate cars for society and shrinking the world of an individual to a micro-scale of geographical footprint. While the icons of tech are also encouraging productive isolation as the Coronavirus dominates the headlines, those in their formative years cannot be blamed for the reconfiguration of everyday life and a renaissance age for introverts bound to the security blanket of constant connectivity. A simple verbal “hello” falls into oblivion amid a deafening silence.
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