Author Topic: What if This is Normal?  (Read 754 times)

Offline David in MN

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What if This is Normal?
« on: September 30, 2020, 12:10:23 PM »
Consider that this is the path of life going forward because technology demands it. Really. The plow ushered in the agricultural revolution. Fossil fuels gave us the industrial revolution. The internet yielded the information age. Now we'll enjoy the "Solitary Age" and we have the technology to bring this revolution about.

Let's face it, you are safest alone in your home. And if it's not an over-hyped disease it will be something else. And with our modern technology of Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Amazon, Grubhub, etc. we have eliminated the need to go outside. And that's really for your own safety. Why, if you go out to dinner you might get in an accident or get a DUI. Much safer to order in. And why bother taking the risk of traveling to the great museums of the world when you can have a virtual tour?

Don't worry about interpersonal relationships, either. There's a Facebook group for that. And if you get lonely there's plenty of internet porn (that has skyrocketed in use lately) because you'll be single for life. What were you going to do, meet a girl at a bar? Meet someone online and take her to dinner and a movie? A baseball game? A concert?

And the kids... Remember all those decades where kids "needed" school to be "socialized" and learn in a classroom lest they end up like maligned home school kids? Turns out "distance learning" (definitely NOT homeschooling) is good enough. We shattered a decades long iron clad paradigm almost instantly and the ones begging for it are the teachers. As if they don't know that on the internet I'm somewhat less constrained to my local public school than I am in person.

For years we've heard that automation will take over our jobs and when you get fast food there won't even be a person there. Wrong. There might be people involved but you won't see them or speak to them while you wait at home for delivery. The technology is there and we're all proving it. I realize I'm coming off like a Philip K Dick novel but... maybe the Solitary Age is upon us.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2020, 12:23:28 PM »
but... maybe the Solitary Age is RETURNED us.

we used to be more solitary.  more sedentary (as in, never travel more than 20 miles from where you were born, not couch potatoes).  More content in our family and village groups.  More content to make do with what we had and not covet what we did not.
Maybe we will see a return of local barbershop quartets that perform for fun on Friday night at the local park.  Maybe we will see a return of families moving closer to each other instead of scattering to the four corners.

Offline David in MN

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2020, 10:07:50 AM »
I suppose we've been through this before. When my great grandfather was a cowboy in the Dakota Territory he'd go days without seeing another human. One wonders how he managed a family and I came to be. We also have relics of our isolated past that we celebrate. Santa comes down the chimney because the door was snowed shut. Imagine being stuck in one room all winter with the family. Not so surprising we developed a tradition of cooking all day.

But this is different. There are no technological barriers. There is nothing realistic preventing me from booking an overnight to Paris, having my beloved almond croissant on the Arc de Triumph, taking the Thalys to Brussels, and dining on steamed mussels. I even know the train stations to do so. Thing is that I can't. Not for any good reason; it's just that we have decided our role model is Rapunzel and I should enjoy a long corporeal existence locked in a tower eating navy beans out of a can.

Life is all about risk and reward. I skew a little more to the risky side of things but that's my choice. I'm going to eat raw meat and fish. I like oysters on the half shell. I'll get in a drinking contest with some Czechs in Germany. I like mountain climbing and boxing.

This is all gone now. I doubt it will come back. There's always a way to be "more safe" by not leaving home. I suspect my daughter's generation will marvel at some of the things I did as insurmountable tasks. I mean, I was capable of flying to Italy and chartering a boat on Lake Cuomo while drinking copious amounts of red wine and devouring the local (unpasteurized and unsafe) cheeses. That's done. Forget about talking to a captain and verbally making a deal for a tour; you can't even fly to Italy let alone get from Milan to the north lakes.

I really liked the cavalier traveling lifestyle I had in my 20s. It's dead. I doubt it's coming back. And even more mundane things are gone. This Rapunzel lifestyle will kill teenage rites of passage like the "first kiss". Who is going to pass a joint? Will it even matter if you can't go to your first concert?

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2020, 10:35:03 AM »
A counterpoint is the RV and camping industry.  Sales have been through the roof.  The campground up the road sold out every available spot every day since the start of season (though capacity was dropped 25% for part of season to space things out).

Net, I dont think people are just going to  allow themselves to be locked inside.  They will just adopt other avenues, particularly those within their own country.  So maybe the jet set/city-centered lifestyle is replaced with a car based/rural-centered one.  In other words, a movement to low density vacationing vs high density.  One thing is for sure, cruiselines are dead for the near future.

Bigger concern I have is war with China.  If they release another virus on the world, the retribution will be great.  And I am not sure the EU will survive.  Brexit has been a big success and the supposed negatives like less easy cross-border travel and across country education were gutted by Covid.  There simply is no benefit to the EU and a lot of negatives.

Offline David in MN

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2020, 11:21:51 AM »
Maybe. I can anecdotally say that our family has responded by massively using the cabin. An economist would call it the "substitution effect" whereby I couldn't do the trip to Spain I wanted in 2020 so I instead bought watertoys and took the kids out to the lake more often. It got goofy because there was so much travel upstate I would frequently be swapping cars with family and friends based on size needs.

There's also a bias because the other people you meet upstate who wanted to escape the city and go boating or just hang out in a less stressful atmosphere definitely skewed to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Not that they were being risky but that they were the type to have a beer by a campfire and share a laugh. It was a bit of therapy in a way.

But I do believe we have lost something and if you'll forgive the great grandson of a woman who emigrated from Berlin I do believe "Stadtluft macht frei". Don't get me wrong; I love the cabin and I'm happy to get up at 5 am to start the pulled pork and bake bread but there is something lost. I haven't had a really good plated meal at an upscale restaurant since January. That's a monthly event for the Mrs. and I. We delight trying new things and eating off each others' plates. We've had our theater tickets cancelled and we have thousands sitting in unused airfare vouchers.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I can provide an alternative at home. One thing about 2020 is that I spent a lot of time cooking with my daughter and tending the garden which she loved. I'd also like for her to see an art museum or an aquarium. There's a richness to life I feel we have lost and will not reacquire.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2020, 12:00:09 PM »
I guess what I'm getting at is that I can provide an alternative at home. One thing about 2020 is that I spent a lot of time cooking with my daughter and tending the garden which she loved. I'd also like for her to see an art museum or an aquarium. There's a richness to life I feel we have lost and will not reacquire.

I agree with this.  My solo backpacking tour around western Europe is not a possibility for my children.  And I am saddened.

Maybe I am just a "glass half full" girl and am looking desperately for the good in all of this!

Offline David in MN

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2020, 01:28:04 PM »
I agree with this.  My solo backpacking tour around western Europe is not a possibility for my children.  And I am saddened.

Maybe I am just a "glass half full" girl and am looking desperately for the good in all of this!

I sadly agree. And not just that we are raising a "lost generation" in that all the businesses that would support such a venture are gone. What would happen to our kids if they show up at the hostel with a cough and runny nose? Sleep in the street? I did Eastern Canada as a kid. Even that's off the table.

It's why I say we will never come back from this. If you live in North America or Western Europe your standards of "normal" are pretty remarkable. I realize most of us never took advantage to live the vagabond lifestyle but it was at least an option.

I grimace as I look at the trajectory of human movement. My mother's grandparents hopped a boat to come here with no plans and no future (and no English). [I have no ever loving idea how long dad's family has been here.] My mother is dual citizen USA/Canada. I went to Canada as a teen with no paperwork whatsoever. My kid will be lucky to get on a plane after passing the bomb sniffing dog, the drug sniffing dog, the COVID sniffing dog (yes, that's a thing), a temperature check, a strip search, etc.

The uh  :tinfoily: part of my brain is screeching that this is what they've always wanted. Every citizen a prisoner in their own home with the only external connection coming through a heavily regulated screen.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2020, 04:15:05 PM »
One thing is for sure, cruiselines are dead for the near future.

Cruiseships are now being sold for scrap.  The cruiselines dont have the cash to maintain or dock them.  Imagine this, each of these ships is a $500 Million investment which is now a negative asset.   Amazing photos of them being dismantled.



https://gizmodo.com/these-luxury-cruise-ships-are-being-sold-for-scrap-meta-1845328219/amp

These Luxury Cruise Ships Are Being Sold for Scrap Metal
Ships Haven’t Been Able to Sail on U.S. Waters for Months





Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2020, 05:08:51 PM »
I never got to take a cruise.  I can't say I ever wanted to, but it is sad to see that gone.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2020, 08:40:30 PM »
I never got to take a cruise.  I can't say I ever wanted to, but it is sad to see that gone.

They will be back as long as election doesnt go progressive.  Two of the lines have maintained enough of a cash position to last through Spring so they will rebound with much greater share of market afterwards as their competitors disappear.  Same for airlines.  The weaker brands will fall to the wayside but the remaining ones will rebound.

Offline David in MN

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2020, 07:22:51 AM »
I did one cruise. I'm not a big fan of them but when you fly into Milan, spend a few days in northern Italy, and board the ship in Venice to tour the Mediterranean there is some real purpose there. It was fun and I saw a ton of Italy, Greece, and the islands but I hated the conformity of being back on the ship for dinner.

But that ties into another one of my thoughts. I am a believer in the old European aristocracy idea of the "grand tour". A few weeks of travel beats a year in a stuffy university in terms of real education and the experience builds character. You're supposed to go through that scary experience of struggling with a foreign language on a train platform to realize you can overcome just about anything. As Americans we are a little too dismissive of the young adult backpacking Europe to see that person is booking flights and trains, dealing with currency exchange, negotiating taxi cost, looking for the best deal in shelter, finding a good meal at a bargain, and all manner of life skills you'll never get at the university dormitory.

Maybe this is what I'm lamenting. My life is nothing but a long string of risks. People fearful of their safety don't get in a boxing ring, travel internationally, eat raw meat, or go diving in the ocean. To say nothing about things I would call normal growing up like hiking, camping, mountain climbing, canoeing, rafting, or any of that stuff. I don't mean to pick on city people, either. Those kids have to learn to ride the train alone at some point and get the thick skin that protects from the pickpockets and bums. That's a life skill.

I can't shake that all this is lost. As we turn the corner into fall it's important to remember that seasonal influenza is far more risky to children than COVID. That being true, why would we abandon the masks and social distancing? Let's make it permanent.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: What if This is Normal?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2020, 09:50:19 PM »
https://www.forbes.com/sites/petertaylor/2020/10/11/covid-19-has-changed-the-housing-market-forever-heres-where-americans-are-moving-and-why/amp/
COVID-19 Has Changed The Housing Market Forever. Here’s Where Americans Are Moving (And Why)

Against this backdrop, real estate’s new normal is also creating huge swathes of opportunity. Dozens of cities and counties that were once considered too small, too southern, too hot, too flat, or lacking in amenities, culture, or sophistication are now finding themselves being swooned to the top of the real estate desirability lists
...
No matter who I spoke with, a few words kept resurfacing as we lurch into the post-pandemic future: warmer, safer, smaller, stabler, lower taxes, less regulation, and fewer lockdowns.
..
The more interesting pandemic sub-text is the acceleration factor—and how the places where Americans are moving in the midst of COVID-19 may finally be expressing a more fundamental preference for how they really want to live instead of where they have to stay because of their job location or where their kids go to school. It also says a lot about where many American’s heads are right now, and more importantly, the specific criteria with which they’re considering making one of the most important next decisions of their lives in an era of unprecedented uncertainty.
...
“Real estate markets have undergone noticeable shifts since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,” George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com tells me. “In the wake of the lockdowns in March, Americans discovered that existing homes were not adequate for the new work, teach, exercise, cook and live at home reality. Based on realtor.com surveys of consumers, we learned that home shoppers are looking for more space, quieter neighborhoods, home offices, newer kitchens and access to the outdoors, traits which have revived a strong interest in the suburbs and smaller metro areas.”
...
From this perspective, COVID is accelerating demographic trends that were already in place before the pandemic, especially when it comes to businesses seeking places to expand that are pro-growth, low-tax, politically stable, and stacked with an educated work force in advanced degrees like engineering, math, technology, business, and law.
...
For what it’s worth, these “structural advantages” also skew politically. 10 of 12 of America’s cities forecasted to experience the fastest growth in occupied office space according to CoStar over the next five years have majority Republican Governors, Legislatures, and Mayors. Nine of the top 15 cities where businesses are relocating and mopping up office space are in three states that predominantly lean Republican—Texas (4), Florida (3), and North Carolina (2)—including Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Raleigh, and Charlotte respectively.
...
Who’s notably absent from all the data?

Not a single city in California or the Pacific Northwest ranked anywhere near the top of anyone’s “Best Of” lists in terms of where Americans are moving, which suggests that the effects of COVID’s first flight from coastal cities last March may be fossilizing permanently. New York City, Long Island, northern New Jersey, Honolulu, Chicago, and Philadelphia were also conspicuously in the basement, reinforcing America’s net emotional migration away from high-priced real estate markets as well as high-tax, high-lockdown urban locations.