Former governor Jim Douglas shared his thoughts on self-isolation.
How are you handling self-isolation?Not well! I spent my working life interacting with others. I’d often meet hundreds of people in a day. Isolation is agony.
What has been the biggest challenge for you?
Eye strain! Lots more emails, online documents and virtual meetings; I’m glad that we have the technology (how did they function during the Spanish flu pandemic?), but it’s not the same.
What has been the most pleasant surprise?
Getting to know my neighbors! There’s as much traffic as ever on our dead-end road, but it’s now mostly pedestrians. I’ve enjoyed much longer chats with those around here (at an appropriate social distance, of course). Dorothy says that the best change for her is not having to iron so many shirts.
How much of what you’re doing do you think will you carry forward after the pandemic?
I expect that we’ll all use technology more, but I hope not too much: I believe that deeper discussions and more thoughtful decisions occur when people are together.
And what do you feel the lessons will be that come out of all of this?
Perhaps I’m naïve, but I hope we’ll all get along better. This is a distressingly polarized time in our country; maybe the experience we now share will lead to an understanding that we must all rely on one another.