Santa Cruz, CA: I walked along West Cliff earlier today, on this first day of the county’s Shelter In Place order. Exercise is allowed, provided that people maintain a six foot distance between each other unless they are from the same shelter home. I also went to Home Depot to buy some tools in order to renovate my RV. This feels like a universe where I’m preparing for an apocalypse. When I started this experiment in universe surfing 77 days ago, I remember being curious and excited. The excitement has turned into frustration and the curiosity has increased. I’m frustrated at my apparent lack of control. The last 16 days have felt increasingly volatile – as if multiple sets of universes are combining together. My curiosity is increased because this universe feels so different. I’m also curious if it’s possible for me to feel more in control. Can I surf back to the universe I was in 77 days ago? If I do, it will almost certainly be different because the timeline of my surfing experiment must somehow fit into that universe.
Before I try to surf back, I want to document this universe find myself in. Some things I notice different are:
- Instead of blogging daily, I’ve been tweeting daily;
- The US Congress is able to write and pass bills with bipartisan support;
- The retirement savings of most Americans is significantly (up to 33% or so) less, measured in dollar terms. Oil is also significantly cheaper;
- A growing percent of the world’s population is under some form of quarantine or shelter in place;
- Stores have run out of certain items and people have gotten into fights over toilet paper;
- Fewer people are working and more countries are planning to distribute money directly to their citizens;
- Countries are beginning to close their borders to foreigners; and
- “Social Distancing” and “Coronavirus” are now in the general vocabulary.