Service of What Will Change and What Will Remain the Same: So Many Questions

March 26th, 2020

Categories: Change, Forecasts, Predictions

When I see a street with nobody on it in NYC I’m usually on alert. Now I’m relieved. Will it always be so?

I keep a few hidden dollars around just in case and have for decades. On occasion Homer would leave a note saying he owed the envelope $X. Now it turns out dollars and coins may spread coronavirus. Recently E-ZPass announced it doesn’t accept cash anymore nor will Metro-North Railroad and some restaurants have had this policy for a while. [I wrote about the trend in “Service of Cashless Restaurants” in 2018.] So is cash on the way out permanently? If street vegetable, fruit, coffee and falafel vendors return will they only accept credit cards?

Will we have the option of going to the movies anymore? A friend who just saw “Emma” at her neighborhood movie house suggested to friends that they watch it on Pay Per View as they shelter in place admitting she preferred seeing it on the full screen. Do enough people agree? Will Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Turner Classic Movies fill this hunger?

If hair stylists remain closed will long hair on men of all ages become the fashion and gray/white hair for women of a certain age?

Printed copies of newspapers pile up at the office. Is this the death knell for the print versions?

How about church, temple and synagogue attendance–more or less once the crisis is over and services resume?

Will more people telecommute to save employers the cost of rent? Local hosts on 710 WOR Radio are on-air from their homes now and some save hours a week in commuting time. Speaking of real estate, will more people flee from living in cities where viruses thrive on crowds? We all press L for lobby in elevators.

What about teaching: Will the cost of college shrink as techniques to teach online become more compelling and interaction realistic through technology? Will gathering in classrooms become obsolete? What will happen to all those buildings?

Will enough people have learned to cook and/or to order in to make restaurants less tempting?

Will sports fans have found other interests? Will libraries close forever as people increasingly download books and will borrowed books be forever suspect? What about the classes and lectures held at libraries?

What about auto-pay? If a bank account is bare, won’t people want to strategize about which bills to satisfy and not have vendors grab at the overdraft willy nilly?

Too many questions. Should we not ask them now?

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7 Responses to “Service of What Will Change and What Will Remain the Same: So Many Questions”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    It’s way too early for uneasy predictions and conjectures. Let’s await developments, and in the meantime act as sensibly as our individual psyches permit. Good health to all!

  2. Martha Takayama Said:

    Your brilliant post asks all the questions that are racing in confusion through my mind all day and, I think, even through troubled sleep hours.

    They all are unquestionably important and address the innumerable consequences from the apocalyptic moment of plague like illness we are all stumbling through with greater or lesser ability to keep going. The essence of the questions you ask are shockingly real. Just asking them reveals how much of what we take for granted in every aspect of our daily lives, without respect to geography, race, religion, or social class, is never to be taken for granted and nor immutable.

    The very question of mankind’s existence is being called in to play. I must confess that I think so many of the habits, customs and practices you mention may become irrelevant, insignificant or obsolete at the presently unforeseen conclusion of this time of all-pervading disaster. I cannot think calmly enough to articulate what I perceive as the whys and wherefores. I think it suffices to say that we are all being forced to reevaluate our priorities, our needs and our beliefs.

    One would hope that we will emerge stronger, more wholesome and less self-centered than before, although that attitude in itself is somewhat supercilious and arrogant. At the least this should be a humbling experience for all of mankind, although it does not appear to be the case for our fatally incompetent President and his coterie of blind enablers.

    Even though I sense that much of what you suggest may no longer prevail in all areas of our living, we need more time to put the conclusions into a more coherent from. Once more I can only congratulate for your calling our attention to the full significance of the moment.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I can live with this approach though I dread seeing the white line that will soon appear on my scalp and don’t care if it becomes a fashion trend–I can’t wait for my hair stylist to return to work!

  4. Lucrezia Said:


  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    We thought that everyone was going to be kind to others right after 9/11 and while the mood lasted a while, it didn’t for long.

    I think the self-centered can’t help themselves–they’re at work now, the ones grabbing far more food and TP than they could use in a month of Sundays.

    We’ll simply have to watch and see about the rest. I wanted to get off my chest some things that invade my mind.

  6. BC Said:

    Creating new ways to use other products for toilet may soon appear!

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    People swear by bidets but the concept has no appeal for me.

    They used newspaper squares in public bathrooms in Europe when I was a kid but a woman on line at Trader Joe’s the other week said that there was something in the ink then–or maybe a coating on the paper–that isn’t now, making newsprint no longer safe to use for that purpose.

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