I could set my clock by Fandango’s Provocative Question (actually, I probably could, although I never tried). But Wednesay’s mean just one thing. Today, Fandango asks:
Having been subjected to stay at home restrictions (to one degree or another) over the past six months, would you say that the quarantine has made you a better person? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?
Actually I think this is going to be quite a dull response. To answer the question, first I’d have to ask “what changed?” during lockdown. So, let’s see:
We couldn’t go shopping, of course, but then I was never a big shopper before. So, very little changed for me. For my wife, she actually ordered more, online, because she was working staggered shifts. Did that make her a better person? I bet Jeff Bezos would say “yes”, but I’m not sure anyone else will.
We started doing grocery shopping online. I suppose the environment benefitted a little, by us using less petrol, but it just meant the supermarket truck came to us instead. I suppose there was a net gain, because that truck would have visited 20 other households too. But, either way, I’m not sure that made us better people. The environment was already a pretty big issue for us. But I could certainly buy that if somebody was unaware of the environment before (was anybody unaware???), but they are because of the pandemic, then they will be better people. Probably.
One thing which changed was not having to go into my local city to do my telephone befriending. More petrol saved, but that was mainly a benefit to me, just because it cut out all that travel time. So I don’t think that made me a better person.
Possibly the one thing where I helped was the telephone befriending itself. I was doing it already. But pre-lockdown, I spoke to around 10 people per week, and during lockdown, to about 20. But did that make me better? I just did what I did, what I did before and what I’ve done since. I doubt it.
As regards the less tangible things, did the pandemic help me appreciate the value of human life? Not really, human life is valuable but in saying that, death is part of life. Did the pandemic cause me to appreciate people’s space? Undoubtedly, but you’re not saying you’re a better person because of that, surely? Did the pandemic help me to appreciate my friends more than I did before? No, not really. I appreciated them anyway.
And that echoes my overall sentiment. I doubt I’m any different. What was important to me before, is still important.