3 min read

The right kind of connected?

The right kind of connected?
My new manager inspects my work-from-home setup for compliance.Well, this is it.

It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks.

Well, this is it.

There have been pandemics before in human history, even here in the United States. But this is the first pandemic to hit the digitally-connected American public. Suddenly, both the benefits and the disadvantages of the Internet of Things have been thrown into stark relief.

Home for weeks? Streaming platforms will serve you video content galore. Hungry for information on how nearby states or faraway countries are handling the spread of COVID-19? Their solutions are a few taps away.

And yet, never before has the perception of how other people are handling or surviving or mitigating the growing crisis been so infected by such a toxic mix opinions and facts. With so much information flow—and because receiving it and discussing it immediately can be so addicting—it’s become deeply uncomfortable to remove oneself from the discussion and get things done.

I find it all a bit paralyzing. Read too much, and I slip into a state of overwhelming concern. Force myself to focus, and suddenly certain workaday behaviors can seem pointless.

The news, regardless of where you get it, preys on attention. The language of the Breaking News Alert has been pummeled into normalcy. We’re used to media outlets YELLING at us like every day is a catastrophe. It’s a little pedantic, but the collective news has been crying wolf ever since the industry shifted online. Now, with a real live predator out there, everyone’s still screaming.

That’s what makes this particular panic so difficult—how do you parse nuance and think critically, when the stereo has been blasting everything from classical to metal for the last three and a half years?

I can only run on adrenaline for so long. At a certain point, I need to tune out some of  the noise to make decisions and get shit done.

So this weekend, I’m wishing you all some peace and productivity so you can take care of you and yours. Don’t panic too much. Plan smartly, don’t buy everything. Carve out some quiet time, especially if you haven’t had it recently.

On a personal note

A lot of the folks reading this newsletter are outside of Seattle and signed up to keep in touch. So I should say: Miche and I are doing well—no symptoms, well-stocked, and the sun is shining. I’ve been working from home for about a week and a half, but Oxygen is digital already. We can normally work from anywhere, although it’s nice to have an office and regular in-person connection with my colleagues.

We’ll be out in the Cascades tomorrow. Nothing like mountain air to calm the nerves.

Send Me Your Faves

No recommendations this week. So much of what I’ve been reading has been COVID-forward and little of it has been that helpful or evergreen, since conditions have been shifting so rapidly.

So instead:

What are YOU watching, reading, and listening to? Send me your current cultural endeavors, and I’ll put together a list for the next issue (likely next week). All you have to do is reply to this newsletter and it’ll hit my inbox. Throw a note in the comments if you read on the website.

And if you are sending me a note, let me know how you’re doing. It’d be great to hear from you.

P.S. If you’re a film nerd on Letterboxd, I recently started tracking what I’m watching. If you’re on this movie-centric social network, let’s connect.

As always, a reminder that Sunday On A Whim is a passion project. Please excuse the occasional half-baked sentence or silly typo.