My efforts to be a 21st-century Nostradamus ended up pretty much a failure.
My first prediction was that we would all continue to wear masks long after the pandemic, as we were so used to it anyway. Just didn’t happen.
I also suggested that gyms and similar businesses, that suffered so much during the lockdowns, would really struggle to survive, as millions of us downloaded apps to help us keep fit. I don’t see much evidence for that.
I also confidently forecasted much less foreign travel, and less use of public transport. The airlines that survived the pandemic seem to be extremely busy these days, and once border restrictions were eased, it was really a case of do what we used to do. Travel. The social distancing on public transport has long since gone, and in Britain, the statistics show that passenger levels are up to 95 per cent of what they used to be. (That’s of course when the bloody trains are not subject to industrial action which seems to happen every other week.)
So, with all that abject failure in anticipating the future, my one success from eighteen months ago was the prophesy that WFH, or Working from Home, would continue. It mostly has for those not in customer-facing jobs. Of course, there are still too many bosses that can’t cope without showing what power they have over their staff, and need them to be physically present for that. But the sensible ones are now increasingly offering their workers the choice of where they work.
It shows in other ways too. When’s the last time you saw a guest live in the T.V. news studio? In radio as well, interviews are now almost exclusively conducted remotely, as technology, like Zoom, continue to improve.
I am a patron for a disability sports group in Jersey, Channel Islands, and when I emigrated to North Cyprus, I had to cease attending our quarterly committee meetings. (A round-trip of 6,000km for a one-hour conference was a tad excessive…) During lockdown, these meetings were conducted by Zoom, with all eighteen of us, now including me, contributing from the comfort of our own homes. Think about it: thirty-six car journeys saved, and no need to book an expensive hall to accommodate everybody. Guess what? That’s how we continue to carry out our get-togethers, and always will.
At least I got something right.
My Covid predictions: how did I do
Back in August 2021, I made two predictions.
So, prediction #1: Vaccination as a norm.
First, the vaccination program. Soon it would be clear if you’re not vaccinated you would feel the difference in various kinds of limitations. Travel, access to various services or venues and much more. Kind of second-rate person if you’re not vaccinated. It is unofficial but it is true. Could be called a new discrimination? I guess, this is well justified for health reasons.
This came to be true. There’s no more hype over vaccination, but you may face some problems, probably not a 100% discrimination, still. Making a long story short, yes, life is easier if you’re vaccinated.
Prediction #2: Masks as a habit.
But, second, and the most important, I think we’ve done some visual changes: people are now wearing masks. Before it used to be some Chinese or Japanese freak-out in the TV news.. But the mask on the faces… Not sure I could get used to it. Visually.
Well, it came to be true in a way that people, at the first chance, stopped wearing masks. Now in Moscow people stop wearing masks en masse. I mean, two or three individuals may wear masks, others, not. Personally, I got rid of it with the first decree allowing to take it off. I couldn’t get used to it. Plus, I believe vaccination is much more important compared to wearing masks; an additional thing, anyway.
All in all, it wouldn’t take the wisest person in the world to make those predictions come true.
Our Covid predictions – how did we do?
It’s always interesting to go back and see what we thought about something after you know how the topic really turned out. Once in a while I seriously blow these things but this time: not too bad.
I predicted that folks would not want to go back to the office when this was over and that Management would demand their return. Here was how I put it any the time: “Look, if most of the office staff has proved they can work from home, why does the top management insist on leasing big buildings? They say the same goofy, corporate double-speak they used before Covid: ‘The team needs to be focused on the mission.’ And ‘The creative environment fostered vis-a-vis face to face interaction is paramount to success.’”
The truth was then and is now that it’s all about the ego. Mid and upper-level managers want to tell people how to act and what to do; when to eat lunch and what they can keep in the break-room fridge. Anything else is just BS. Having people running around, kissing your butt is an ego stroke.
What I didn’t understand was just how sick the butt kissers were of delivering said smooches. Once people started working from home and leading lives of dignity, they were not going back. These people have quit by the millions… all around the world. Many tens of millions more have done something called quiet quitting, which I don’t approve of.
I didn’t get everything right. I thought that we would all have a digital pass we would show in order to travel. Nope. China seems to be the last major country requiring proof of vaccination to enter. Because I don’t live in the EU, I didn’t have a digital pass. It really didn’t bother me: “Guess I’ll just have to go down to Pisces & Spices and order something tall & frosty.” It appears my priorities haven’t changed.