Today was Day One of working from home under Idaho’s stay-at-home order. Because my job constitutes an “essential service” under the order, I am not obliged to work from home as a matter of law, and there may be times when I will have to leave the house and put in a bodily appearance at work. I was in fact reluctant to work from home, because women are not very good at compartmentalizing, and it is already hard enough for a woman to keep home life separate from work. On the other hand, the county would like us to work from home as much as we can, and there are some technical things to rehearse and work out before we go live with virtual court next week; besides which, the respite from the commute will save me a few bucks in gas money. So I opened up my roll-top desk and set up my work laptop, and Legal Eagle Beagle Ltd. was in business.
Though this is the first time I have worked from home, it is actually not the first time I have worked at home. From time to time I have a motion or a brief to get out that requires some intensive research and writing, or I have a trial that requires some intensive preparation: then it is good to work on these projects surrounded by pleasant and familiar things. But today many of the daily business activities that I normally do only at the office took place at home. These activities stayed in one room that is actually set aside as a study, so I could still compartmentalize somewhat; and I could also look out the window at the pleasant spring weather. Except for a couple of virtual meetings to test and practice with the software we are using to stay connected to the office and the court, there was no face time with colleagues. In our line of work, we depend a lot on each other’s input and advice. There was, however, plenty of face time with Scarlett the Cat, my furry, four-legged co-counsel. At the end of the business day, with no huge projects demanding immediate and continued attention, the laptop was powered off and shut up in the roll-top desk, out of sight until tomorrow morning.
Thus passed my first day in this strange new reality that leaves us in our comfortable surroundings but has brought out our inner Howard Hughes, turning us into reclusive germophobes, and about which we cannot seem to have a rational discussion that doesn’t end in hysteria and recriminations. It’s hard to see the whole picture when you’re inside the frame, and I don’t quite grasp the whole concatenation of circumstances that led us, suddenly, to this pass. I do know I am more dismayed by the reaction to the coronavirus than I am by the thing itself, and by the fact that there seem to be many people complaining that the government has not gone nearly far enough in curtailing our freedoms.
And there are two things that frighten me. The first is that, for our slide into the moral sewer, we have merited this plague, and worse; the second is the inescapable fact that a just God has permitted this, on a global scale.
Will we learn the lessons He is trying to teach us?