When Diana and I went to New York for our anniversary in 2018, I was skeptical that I would really like New York. It took Hamilton after all of those years to get me there. I had such a distaste for Chicago and LA, and I figured NYC would yield a similar response. But of course, New York is graced with extraordinary history, Broadway, museums, TV studios, architectural wonders, and a great many (very great many) people. When we went back last year, I loved it even more.
Then I got to a point where it was clear that I was going to be working for a New York-based company, with an office in One World Trade Center, no less, and I imagined I'd get to visit a few times a year. Then the Covid-19 pandemic got real, real fast, and with the city as its anchor in America. I haven't met any of my coworkers in real life, and couldn't tell you when I will.
What I have seen, remotely, is people whose lives make my quarantine life easy by comparison. I know, I try not to keep score on the misery scale (therapist rules), but having to confine yourself in a place where people density is so high comes with a high cost. And frankly, that's one of the things that makes New York great, is the ability of people to collaborate and be together. People live in less space, they pack on subways, they share space because they have to. So imagine that with hospitals overflowing with death, and now civil unrest and protest. There's a psychological cost to that.
Naturally, this informs my view of these crises, and I imagine my view would be very different if it was simply limited to life in suburban Orlando, watching things from the comfort of my laptop. The seriousness of these two problems is very serious. Seeing people closer to it creates a great deal of empathy.
Hang in there, New York. You've been through more than your share of terrible things going all the way back to the founding of the United States. You'll get through this, too.
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