from Shannon in Seattle: We Want to be Settlers with Internet

Tonight I have sore hands. It’s not only from washing them a lot, but from a mistake in the dilution of bleach I was using to wipe down the kitchen counters.  I was kind of eyeballing 10%, which is the recommended dilution, and spilled some.  Bleach is HARD to wash off!  It’s silly, I mean, I have no experience with bleach. I’m more of a apple cider vinegar and dirt kind of person.  But here I am figuring out the sanitizing power of bleach and sneaking around after the family goes to bed to sanitize things.  Go figure.

One of the things sociologists do to understand trends is to ask everyday people “What are you doing MORE of today, and what are you doing LESS of?”

When we ask that today in time of Coronavirus pandemic we get lists like this:


  • cooking and baking
  • reading news
  • using social media
  • thinking about securing my food (growing it, having chickens, storing it, hoarding it, hiding it, leaving the city)
  • wasting time online
  • reading books
  • shopping online and getting delivery
  • watching shows
  • worrying about money
  • worrying about hygiene and health
  • washing my hands
  • dreaming about travel
  • realizing who my real friends are
  • walking the dog and spending time with animal companions
  • connecting with my family
  • exercise inside
  • feeling I need to keep my house safe


  • Hiking, camping, being out in nature
  • Spending time with people
  • Shopping for fun
  • Shopping in brick and mortar stores
  • Planning for expensive items or travel
  • Eating out
  • routine medical trips
  • wasting time in traffic
  • Connected with others
  • Feeling safe in the world

The things that people are doing speak to this cocooning or building a fortress home.  In the past weeks I have gone from less frequent trips out, to viewing the doorknob as a danger zone.  From going skiing outside and considering that “Safe” to not leaving my neighborhood because of the principle of not having “fun” in potential crowds of any kind.

In this home fortress, the things we turn to are celebrations of self reliance.  It’s as if we an illusion of agency in planting seeds to grow some lettuce, or baking bread from flour we’ve bought in bulk.  Look, I’m going to be okay because I have 10 lettuce and some squash in fall!  The irony is that the stores are full of bread.  The chicks that are all sold out at the feed shop won’t lay an egg for 5 months. While we do well to stay home, our contributions to safety are passivity. Do nothing. Go nowhere.  The action is elsewhere – testing, tracing, treating.  We can’t bake that.

Tomorrow, I plan to make bagels from scratch.  Because I can’t do anything else.

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