(Note: The point of the post is not to rehash The Plague or how we got here (if we could not, that would be eminently appreciated; lots of other people in other places are more than willing to do so); it is to denote one of those before and after moments that happens a great deal less in life than perhaps we think it would. )
Looking back into the historical files (e.g. blog postings and journals), I note that three years ago this week (technically 23 March 2020), I was sent home from the Office for the duration of "The Temporary Emergency".
Although I often do not remember details about a great many things, I remember the details about this one - I suspect that somewhere in my giant e-mail archive that I have acquired over the last six+ years, the e-mail notification is there somewhere. In my case I gathered everyone in the main conference room - at that time I was still nominally in charge of Quality Assurance and so had a number of people reporting to me - and made the announcement that we were all going home.
I remember the colors of the conference room and the looks of everyone looking at me for words - odd, because I had already announced I was "changing" positions I was still considered in charge of them. I cannot remember the words I said - probably something bland and generic about not to worry, do good work, be safe, we will communicate when we know more, etc. The sorts of things that one is expected to say in such circumstance.
I violated what would have been a number of "gospel" points in the coming days and weeks: multiple people gathered in a space, not masked, etc. etc. In retrospect had anyone known at the time, I likely would have been reprimanded for putting people's health at risk. But that was all lost in the ensuing storm.
Since that time, I have not been formally recalled to on-site work. My office - already forfeit as I been transferred out of my previous position - was gone and no work space ever reassigned to me. I, like many many other people, became work nomads: voices and words and 2-D faces on a screen.
It is odd to me how much of a before and after event this feels like now - even more so that something like 9/11, which created visible differences in how we conduct our lives (I am still reminded of this every time I fly). The sense of time has been completely stretched and thinned and turned - The Ravishing Mrs. TB has noticed this as well: she has often commented how three years ago seems like a lifetime ago and events in the interim seem either very close or very far away - or both, at the same time.
I had reason to go onsite earlier this month. The conference room has now been converted into a lab; the bulk of the people that were there on that day are no longer with the company. And yet looking into the lab, I can still see all of us gathered around that large conference table facing a future which none of us could have predicted the shape of.
How odd that one of those significant moments of my life - one of those "Gone With The Wind" moments occurred - in such an innocuous space.