Day 30: Post-Capitalism
Updated: Apr 15
Rebecca Mead wrote about it in The New Yorker, a deserted London that is, not post-apocalyptic, but post-capitalist. In her description, London "...looks not so much post-apocalyptic as post-capitalist, as if the fever of consumption that has come to characterize the metropolis had finally burned itself out."
An unintended (but significant) consequence of the current lockdown has been the lowering of CO2 emissions, which translates on less air pollution, most likely just a temporary lowering of greenhouse emissions. In other words, the air is sharp and clear.
Ordinarily, I fill the tank once every two weeks. These days, I top it every four weeks and never put more than a quarter (I like to have it full, just in case. You can read some background here). But that is not the only thing that has changed. For the first time in years, all but two of my credit cards are in 0 (and have been for a couple of months). I owe CAD221 in one of them, and the other one is CAD471 in credit (because of refunds I have received due to cancelled activities). Cancelled conferences: AirBnB refunds my deposits. No more air travel: airline refunds ticket. Skating rink closes: money back from booked hours.
Another peculiar change has been how I buy groceries and household goods. At the end of the first week of March, I made a Costco run (because I'm Latin American and have seen panic shopping before) in which I spent more than CAD 400, mostly on pantry staples, frozen and canned foods. The place was full (and could be because no-one had even heard about physical distance). It feels as if this happened a century ago. Actually, it had been ages already when I returned to Costco two weeks later.
In the old times, before COVID-19, I would regularly spend around CAD350 a week at the stores. Right now, I'm averaging less than 150. This is considering that Tessa and I are eating three meals a day at home, as well as snacks. What has happened then?
Some have described this as a consequence of wanting to spend less time at the store. People are making lists and getting in and out as fast as possible. This also applies to me. I only go for the absolutely essential, once a week, with a list of items already in the order in which they would be presented at the Canadian Superstore.
Reflecting upon the change in my expenses, I realized that it has more to do with time than anything else. I have the luxury of time to prepare certain meals, so I plan them and only buy what I need for those. What I now see as my natural impulse to overbuy, stems from the fact that I usually don't know how much time I might have to prepare our food. My fluctuating schedule generates a strange need in me of having many different things available. Just in case.
This is not to say that I have not spent any other money. Since the beginning, Tessa and I have consumed a vast quantity of Crave cupcakes. I bought books, yeast, and a thermometer (they were sold out everywhere, and suddenly it matters if you happen to have a fever) from Amazon (those evildoers), yarn from DyeforWool (although current restrictions do not allow them to ship internationally for now) and jump rings from Metal Desingz (Tessa and I are working on parallel projects). Now is the time to support local businesses, those which might be in danger of never reopening after this.
Canada cases 27,063
World cases 1,982,281
World deaths 126,722
World recoveries 486,622