Good afternoon from Epcot, where today is the last day for some Disney Parks magic for at least the next two weeks — realistically, the next two months — and it is surreal. While Hollywood Studios had a semblance of a crowd trying to get on Rise of the Resistance or Runaway Railway one last time, Epcot feels empty during what should've been one of the busiest weekends of the spring. It was quite busy a week ago when I was in the parks reviewing the Galaxy S20, and that crowd is mostly gone.
I absolutely should not be out here, just like I absolutely should not have done Animal Kingdom Friday night for Flights of Passage. And I especially shouldn't be planning to hit the Magic Kingdom tonight to get my last hit of fireworks euphoria. But it's human nature to seek out the familiar and the comforting in troubling times, and this has been a more trying week than I've experienced in my short time on this planet.
It's okay to be worried. It's okay to be a little scared, especially when getting tested is still difficult or impossible for many Americans. It's okay to need to take a minute for yourself right now. I needed a bit of time on Thursday afternoon just to process all the news, and I've gone through half a bag of Dove milk chocolates in the last few days. Self-care in stressful times is important.
What's not okay is to panic. What's not okay is to snatch up all the disinfecting wipes, toilet paper and water you can get your grubby hands on. What's not okay is to ignore or deny that this is happening. What's not okay is to disobey orders to self-isolate if you have symptoms or have been told you had exposure to a confirmed case.
And what's certainly not okay is to take out your fears and frustrations on grocery store workers and customer service representatives who are just trying to keep their head above water during tidal wave after tidal wave of angry and confused customers. They're doing their best, just like we all are trying to do.
Take a deep breath, count to ten, and remember that we're all in this together.
Now, if you're trying to figure out how you're going to work from home for the next few weeks, we can help you build yourself a quick 'n cheap home office — though I seriously recommend grabbing yourself an ergonomic chair and mouse so that you don't screw up your back or wrist — and as work-from-home experts, we've shared our best strategies for effectively transitioning.
Just because you're all stuck home doesn't mean there's nothing to do.
Most schools and daycares being closed, I can't help you quite as much with. There's educational apps a-plenty, and there's kid-friendly content on just about every streaming service you can shake a screen at, from YouTube Kids to Disney+ adding Frozen II three months early. Now's also probably a great time to check out the digital collection available from your local library, or the millions of free classics available on Kindle and Google Play Books like Arabian Nights, Treasure Island, and Sherlock Holmes' many mysteries.
There's also productive tasks you and your brood could undertake while you have all this time together. Have everyone go through their closet to figure out what fits, what's ripped, and what can go to Goodwill. Get a jump start on your spring cleaning. Start a small backyard garden. Bake some delicious bread together and let the kids form it into fantastic shapes. Bring back family game night, and if you need a game to start with, Mexican Train Dominos have always been a hit in my family.
Part of why I love my job is that technology has the power to make our lives better, and this is one of those times it's more powerful than ever. We'll get through this all together, eventually, and then we can get back to fawning over the latest phones and complaining about what service Google kills off next.
Now excuse me, I need to go watch the last fireworks I'll be feeling the boom of in my chest for a while and try not to cry since I can't touch my face in public.
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