“Not to be a downer,” my coworker says during team meeting, “But I read an article this morning that the high rates of work from home have led to people working more hours and increased cases of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.”
A chat popped up: “I read that article too.” A yellow thumbs up sign pops up next to it.
A microphone crackled, “Yeah, it has been very hard to get as much exercise as before.”
Another chat: “I’m averaging about 4700 per day.” A laughing face skitters across my screen. I move to unmute, to add a quippy joke, but I hit the wrong button and a silence descends upon the virtual meeting. I’ve missed the moment.
Another voice, deep and disembodied: “These are challenging times, we don’t often reflect on it, but it’s been an adjustment.”
Back and forth the conversation goes: voices and text mixing in my headphones and across my screen. Little blue circle lighting up pictures of colleagues I haven’t seen in over a year. I imagine all 20 of us, scattered across the world, blocked off from our families in isolated corners, all muting and unmuting and typing and emailing and squinting and zooming and feeling the weight of blue light sleep into our finger joints and retinas.
Welcome to Week 61 of the Pandemic.