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Dispatches from the front:

• The darkness grows ... mostly because one of the can lights in the exercise room that now doubles as my work-from-home office has burned out. That would be a metaphor except, well, we have spares.

• When the work-from-home diaspora started, most of us confidently set lofty goals for the many things we would accomplish with all the interruption-free work time we'd be experiencing. After a couple of weeks, I'm fairly confident those goals have become ... less lofty. At the moment my personal goal is to delay working in a ball cap and tattered sweats as long as possible. Gonna be rough.

• By the way, I will probably not learn Japanese. Or complete my master's. Or start on my master's. I will, however, likely watch replays of The Masters, since, yeah, no sports on TV.

• Speaking of sports, I'd like to thank the NFL for basically putting all the players' names on index cards, throwing them up in the air and letting teams grab as many of them as they can. It's going to be interesting to see Tom Brady in a Tampa Bay uniform. That's provided the season doesn't get delayed so long I've forgotten what he looked like in a Patriots' uniform.

• Staying connected to your work teams is considered an important part of managing people while we all work from home. I, for one, have been providing my reports with almost hourly updates about the movements of the cows in the pasture behind my house. Yep, they're coming up close to the fence now. Now they're moving farther out. The white one has lain down.

I'm sure they all appreciate that.

• I still haven't violated the first rule of rural Oklahoma: Don't name the livestock. So, on some level at least, order has prevailed.

• And, it's unfortunate the current health situation coincides with allergy season (so who got to throw out/down the first Zyrtec this year?). Which means lots of people are coughing, sneezing and otherwise exhibiting symptoms consistent with both the outbreak of spring and the outbreak of covid-19.

In this environment I feel comfortable reporting that coughing has become the new leprosy.

• It appears that, from a wardrobe standpoint at least, socks are the first casualty of working from home.

Also, is "activewear" named that ironically, since it seems most of us wear it to lie on the sofa? Asking for a friend.

• The cows are all walking west, for no apparent good reason. I repeat, the cows are walking west ...

• While it's neither fair nor accurate to say that Northwest Arkansas is a "company town," the region does tend to over-index on certain businesses, which carry with them some unique circumstances, and, given the current retail environment, demands.

With that in mind, "home-schooling" tends to take on a somewhat different sound in our part of the country:

"So, Courtney, if you have 10 apples and you take away seven, that means Mommy has a huge in-stock issue caused by a bottleneck at the distribution centers that's going to make her spend the rest of the day finding alternate supply chains while on conference calls and video meetings. And three. The answer is three. Now, go ask Daddy about toilet paper and watch that vein on his neck bulge out. Biology!"

• Also, a quick FYI: Millennials are those roughly between the ages of 23 and 39. Which means, at this point, they're trying to conduct classes for their children while working from home, wondering if their wi-fi can support everyone, trying to talk their younger siblings from heading for Daytona because "You're killing Grandma! And not just with the tattoos and the nose ring this time!" while also telling their parents, "Yes, I know you all survived World War II and the Great Depression. Which is why I'm here. And why I need you to not go to the store and why, Mom, you and the ladies in your book club are just going to have to work with me and figure out Facetime. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to dose myself with quinine in the form of a bottle of gin and see if it helps me figure out junior high algebra."

So, instead of trying to shame them, let's all give them a hug. Or, at least wave to them from a safe distance of at least six feet.

• And ... the cows are now walking east. I repeat, the cows are now walking east. Except the white one, which is still down.

Commentary on 03/27/2020

Print Headline: The work-from-home diaspora

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