Do any of you feel a sense of loss in your daily life and routines resulting from pandemic fatigue?
Are we transitioning into a new normal and letting go of our pandemic lifestyle and rules and reconnecting with each other?
There seems to be a reluctance to engage fully, to engage with friends, to reach out to neighbors, or to meet someone new.
The pandemic has turned us all into introverts and really frustrated most extroverts. We have all become virtual reality consumers. Working from home has become normal. Education has become a new frontier of home schooling thanks to Zoom.
We learned how much we craved our old routines, physical access to each other, but at the same time we realized bad behavior on Zoom couldn’t be easily monitored. Audio as well as video could be muted while we were listening, allowing us to not make sarcastic remarks to anyone or send personal chat or text messages sharing a joke with any of the attendees without overtly disrupting the meeting for a personal laugh.
Isolation has affected us all in our own way. Some of us tolerated the isolation better than others. When I’m out and about in the community emerging from our pandemic-induced stupor and fear of catching Covid, I feel anger, anxiety, or benefit for many people who weren’t there before. We have changed. Although these observations are not scientific, I see it in the news with more incidents of crime, road rage, domestic and gun violence, and in general, less tolerance, patience and respect.
Federal Way is a microcosm of this post-Covid transition behavior, which is being felt across America. We see it on our streets. Homelessness and open drug use have increased. Traffic increases and drivers are less friendly. Customer service seems to be a thing of the past. We all seem to be crazy about something as we work to reconnect.
Angry that groceries, gas, plane tickets, restaurant meals, cost of goods, rent are costing more and your wages are stagnating? Angry that we’re facing inflation, but also hear that some companies like Exxon are making record profits?
Is the fuel shortage real or an opportunity to take advantage of consumers because there is a war in Ukraine and Russia is using its oil resources as a weapon against the world?
Angry that what you see on the news is all doom, darkness, crime, your 401K is tanking or that Russell Wilson is now playing for Denver? Are you angry that your world seems out of control right now?
Are you angry that our mayor, whom you like or dislike, is running for a higher position and if he succeeds, the next person may be less or more capable than us? Are you mad at local politics in general because if you’ve lived here a long time, you’ve seen the caliber of our city slowly diminish?
Does it drive you crazy that no one listens to your solutions? Even if they listened, are you sure what you’re proposing would make things better and not worse? Have things gotten so complicated that you have a headache?
Are you one of those who started flying a black and white American flag with a blue stripe in solidarity with our police. Is this your way of expressing your dissatisfaction with our company?
The black and white American flag was a symbol used by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War to demonstrate that they would not surrender. Add the blue stripe and it becomes an updated symbol that sounds positive to many, because you want us to believe you support the police, but in reality it’s meant to be a divisive counterpoint to those representing responsibility policing, diversity and specifically Black Lives Question.
Are you proud that your years of religious fanaticism gave you a Supreme Court that shared your erroneous values and overturned Roe v. Wade? Do you really want them to go back in time to create a new American Dark Age?
The wave of complacency that allowed frightening values of the past to become prominent political issues has yet to reawaken, but it will. So what? Are we going to continue to be stuck in an eternal culture war trying to impose backward Christian nationalist patriarchal values as the democratic world moves slowly?
During the pandemic, people still moved, but it may have taken a year or so before they met the neighbors. Neighbors wake up from forced malaise to find they have nothing in common with the person who moved next door. They may pray to a different god, come from a different culture, country, or even worse, fail to maintain their property to the desired standards.
A few weeks with high temperatures in the 80s and 90s and no air conditioning gave us a headache that made us feel edgy, tired and crazy. Keep telling yourself that climate change isn’t real as wildfires continue to scorch the west, while floods and storms wreak havoc on families and towns in the east of our country. Fossil fuel extractors have known for years that their products impact our climate and put profits ahead of the well-being of the planet.
The societal filters and elements that kept a lid on our bad behaviors and conspiratorial thoughts have dissolved at an increasing rate during the pandemic fueled by conflicting information and policies. What needs to be restored so that we feel better about ourselves and society in general? For starters, respect and the realization that facts matter.
We live in a society that has as part of its working culture the phrase, asked rhetorically – “what have you done for us lately?” It keeps us guessing and working harder for their cause while letting us know that we are replaceable.
They told us to work from home, we got used to that, and now they want us back in a hostile workspace where they give us low pay, no respect, and make us feel insecure. Now you hate your job even more, but you feel compelled to stay for health insurance.
I get it – we’re crazy about a lot of everything. Maybe we should take a deep breath, think of the board as a society, and start speaking kindly about our issues.
Keith Livingston is a retired municipal management professional, lifelong artist, and Federal Way resident. He can be contacted at [email protected]