“We’re all in this together”.
I’ve heard this said hundreds of times and I’ve said it a few times myself. But after speaking, reading, tweeting, and listening to many people all across the US there’s one thing that rings true. We’re all going through this pandemic together, but we’re not having the same experience.
Although it may sound nice and it feels good to hear the words, the reality can be much more jarring.
The single person quarantined at home isn’t much better off than the parents who had a sudden realization that raising children 24-7 was more challenging without the support of teachers, after school programs or playdates. There are many single people who feel vulnerable, isolated, and afraid of what will happen if they get deathly sick and no one is physically around.
Then there’s the employee who can work from home finding it challenging to concentrate and balance work priorities and keeping housebound children educated.
There are seniors who haven’t left their homes in weeks too afraid of the “what ifs” and their only means of social interaction at the grocery store or daily walks have stopped.
The experience of the gas attendant, the cashier at the supermarket, the delivery worker, the fast-food employee, and the people behind the scenes that make the “shop online and get it delivered” seamless aren’t at home “being safe.” They are out there working. In fact, over 65% of workers are still going into work. They don’t have the “luxury” of working from home. Without them, we aren’t able to live in our quarantined homes.
We have people with wealth and extra homes who are able to “escape” NYC or other major cities and go into their country homes are in this too, but in it differently. It’s different from the family of 5 living in a small apartment with hundreds of other people where six feet apart is a fantasy.
There are millions of people unemployed and waiting for benefits to start and thankfully there are benefits. But that’s different from the gig worker or contractor or cash paid employee who is counting every penny.
The fear of homeowners who might lose their jobs is experiencing the pandemic like the landlord with six rental properties wondering if rents will be paid and if they can afford their mortgages. It’s similar but different.
And, there are people who can stock up their pantries or go outside to exercise. They too are in this together but in it differently.
So what’s the point in pointing this out? Just a reminder that the socio-economic divide has existed far before this pandemic. And how we’re all connected and unable to live our lives without others living theirs. Yes, we’re in this together because humanity is a shared experience.
But as a reminder…
“We’re all in this together”, but we’re each experiencing this differently.