"Our daily lives are so mundane, we get taken over by what is immediately in front of us, and we don't see beyond that." - Benedict Cumberbatch
It has been 164 days since the self-imposed isolation started. Maybe it is time for me to stop counting. In 180 days, I thought that we, as a society, would come up with a framework to deal with reality after the virus but before the vaccine. We are nowhere close.
The year is half-over, and it already feels like a year lost. There is a feeling of resignation that life will be like it is for a thinkable future. For the lucky few — I am one of them — there is an option to work from home. For others, a more significant crisis is around the corner. There won’t be homes for many. It doesn’t matter – a prevailing sense of doom seems to linger. And when that lifts, a feeling of ennui replaces the gaps between Zoom calls.
If you are like me are always on the go, then the stillness can prove stifling. The days seem longer, though it is hard to tell a Tuesday from Friday.
Work — emails, pitches, phone calls, zoom catchups — is getting done with alarming efficiency. There are fewer distractions. The calendar is remarkably sanitary — there is no need to say no. The society itself is in a default no-mode.
After work, one is left with a lot of time, especially if one doesn’t have kids. A small apartment doesn’t need that much upkeep. It all feels very mundane. Sometimes, I think that mundane is an airlock between reality and imagination.
"Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous." Bill Moyers
In life before the virus, I would typically find ways to escape the ordinary. Sometimes, in fact, quite often, I would go make photographs somewhere. There would be time spent with friends and travels to different places. The escape from ordinary meant a chance to collide with interesting people, learning about them, learning from them.
As travels afar are no longer possible, one looks to the world that is closer to us. I have been trying to find images in places around me. I find time to write, read, and contemplate. There have been some Zoom calls with folks with interesting ideas about the future. I have talked to some about art.
And yet all that isn’t enough. The space in the day without the continuously changing context of location, people, and seasons only makes you hyper-aware of the ordinary—the mundaneness of our lives.
Brad Feld calls it sameness.
August 11, 2020, San Francisco