It’s Saturday?

I guess it is. I have to say it doesn’t seem to matter much anymore — It’s astounding, Time is fleeting, Madness takes its toll — since I’m just stuck at home, seeing no one, coming unmoored from everything, but I do have a thought which makes me feel slightly better.

Which would you rather?

A. Have a job that lets you work from home, even if it means you’re in isolation.
B. Be isolated at home without a job.
C. Not be isolated because your boss forces you to work in some mindless service job.
D. Not be isolated because you have an essential job, like health care, that exposes you to a high likelihood of getting COVID-19.
E. Have the disease.

There, that puts it all in perspective. I’m an A. I am so lucky. Which one are you?

Anyway, today my plan is to churn out a video lecture for intro bio — the historical battle between biometricians and saltationists, which was basically resolved by everyone realizing that genetics was so much more complex than Mendel thought, followed by a lot of non-Mendelian examples — and get that ready to post by Monday.

Sunday is going to be spent churning out a video lecture on linkage mapping for genetics. There are always students who get lost on this stuff, so I expect to spend some Zoom time going over it next week. Then I have to finish grading some lab reports.

I am going absolutely nowhere. Spiders were fed the other day, so I’m not going to set foot in the lab this weekend. I have everything I need to live on in my house, so no trips to the store. I might step out onto the deck to my fenced back yard and remind myself what the sun looks like, but otherwise, I am definitely an A.


  1. cartomancer says

    I’m fortunate to be an A. too. Teaching. And I’m now on my Easter break, so doubly fortuitous. My thoughts go out to all those in the less fortunate categories.

    Your typology isn’t quite complete though. You missed out “X. Be a parasitic rentier-class arsehole who makes money hand over fist by exploiting others and looks set to clean up thanks to corrupt government bailouts.”

  2. blf says

    P. With penguin, deranged (her), mildly. Lots of cheese, except she’s being, ah, “awkward” again… No peas or other vicious fruits.

  3. brightmoon says

    D but I’m not at high risk from my patients . I got lucky that way that I don’t work in a hospital. I’m still at high risk because I live in NYC

  4. says

    I am an A who works from home under normal conditions, so this has caused very little change to my normal routine except for not going out to eat.

  5. microraptor says

    D, though my risk is relatively low because I work as an in-home caregiver with only one client.

    Though I’m pretty worried because one of my coworkers works a second job as a pharmacist’s assistant (or whatever the official job title is) and our twit of a supervisor thinks there’s no risk as long as she washes her hands when she comes to work.

  6. Jackson says

    I’m an A… for now. I get paid from research grants from your normal sources for plant biology research (DOE, USDA, FDA), along with some sources that are generally disapproved of around here (public/private partnerships, billionaires, DARPA). I’ve got enough writing to do to knock out a paper, but most of my work is at the bench. Writing is extremely slow with an 18 month old running around.

    Funding to pay everyone in the lab is still there from the grants, but there is no delay in timelines for getting things done on the grants even though we are shut down at work.

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    B (retired).
    Went out yesterday with mask and gloves for about 3 weeks worth of food and beverages, and new battery for my oral thermometer (beeps like it should now).

  8. lucifersbike says

    A and D because I work at home and also support NHS staff as a face-to-face interpreter in hospitals and clinics. My wife is also D – she is a public servant who can’t work at home for security reasons.
    We are both happy that B, C, and E do not apply to us. Our friends and neighbours who are stuck at home are going slowly mad with boredom and worry about money.

  9. stroppy says

    B for me, I guess. Retired. Not much change in lifestyle required from pre C-19 to post.

    Sympathies to those who find the adjustment difficult, my message from this side is that you’ll be ok. I say embrace it and enjoy some relief from the constant noise of extroversion which, despite the conventional wisdom, isn’t all its cracked up to be–especially since it has turned out to be a massive vector for disease, and all too often misinformation.

  10. blf says

    Nerd@10, Any reason for not (apparently) using a rechargeable battery?

    You can get all sizes of rechargables, albeit some sizes are hard to find, and/or hard to find a recharger for. (For this reason, I’ve tried to — and by now mostly have — avoided stuff which uses the more “awkward” sizes; i.e., essentially everything now uses one of a few sizes which I can recharge.)

    I’ve been using NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) rechargeables for yonks now — and it is now possible to get NiMH (at least) made from recycled batteries. The rechargers aren’t that much, the batteries themselves are more expensive but prices are dropping (albeit the made-from-recycled are currently still quite expensive). The issue, as such, is perhaps “conflict minerals”, exploitative labour practices, and tax avoidance — which, broadly, also apply to non-recharable batteries.

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    blf#14 It’s a very small silver oxide button battery (#392, watch size), and will last for years with intermittent use.
    I do use rechargeable AAA&AA batteries.

  12. robro says

    I’ve been mostly A since last July. I was planning a trip to the valley and a few days of work in office a couple of weeks ago, but canceled those plans when it became clear we were heading into isolation. I’m OK with work from home. I don’t miss the commute, though I do miss the office camaraderie some.

    But work from home (WFH) is the easy part. Like Rich @ #5, it’s the rest of my life that I’m missing. No burritos. No Thai. Our twice a month Friday night jams are on hold, of course. A bunch of old folks sitting relatively close together singing isn’t a good idea right now, not to mention some of the other communal activities that occur on the patio. I can’t hangout in cafes because they’re closed, and I had just found a descent one in town…hope it’s still in business after this passes. And, I don’t even get to go to the farmer’s market and grocery store because my wife is handling most of that with online shopping.

  13. billseymour says

    Fortunately A.

    I’m a work-a-day coder for the U.S. Postal Service. I’m subject to a union contract, and we negotiated a “memorandum of understanding” that allows working from home and that’s been in effect for about a week now.

    The system I work on keeps no sensitive data (nothing that could identify a particular person, nor any trade secrets), so security is limited to the ordinary stuff about keeping malware outside the Postal firewall (still a big deal, but not requiring knee-jerk encryption of everything).

    I think I’ll be OK since I tend to be somewhat socially distant at the best of times. 8-)

    Disclaimer:  “If this were my employer’s opinion, I woundn’t be allowed to post it.” — Norman Diamond

  14. davidc1 says

    I care full time for my twin brother who has a learning disability and Epilepsy ,plus asthma ,so i am staying home .
    Got enough food in the freezer ,don’t have to go out for milk until the end of next week .

  15. blf says

    Nerd@15, Yeah, not sure if there’s a rechargeable equivalent for that battery (an admittedly quick search was inconclusive), or if there is a rechargeable, what rechargers could handle it. There certainly are rechargeable watch batteries — my solar-powered Pulsar uses one. I even use a rechargeable in the room clock! Amusingly, digging through dark far foreign parts of the freezer yesterday, I found a collection of non-rechargeables (all new, as far as I could tell), all(?) more than a decade old (from the visible dates)…

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    Yesterday was my first day of tele-commuting. It was mainly shaking out the bugs from my computer set up, taking test calls from my supervisor, and studying the instructions for the “soft phone” that will allow me to make a living during this insanity. I work a Monday-Friday 7 AM to 3:30 PM shift, usual with a 45 minute drive to a from the call center. So this new reality isn’t going change my view of how I view the work week

    That said, I consider the prospect of working from home a dream come true. Now, I can sleep a half an hour more and still have time for a shower and breakfast. I don’t have to deal with the stress of traffic jams or having to burn through so much expensive gas. I don’t have to worry about what’s going on at home or have to deal with the mixture of condescending and authoritarian attitudes that make up call center culture. (At not least directly.I still get emails from the office).

    Now maybe it’s the socially reclusive introvert in me talking and I’ll be as unhappy and stressed out about my shitty job as I normally am after a couple of weeks, but right now I hope this lasts and dread the prospect of going back.

  17. grahamjones says

    A. Technically I’m retired, but that means I work on what want (which is science) without pay, and I can afford that. I am a mathematician/programmer with expertise in phylogenetic analysis. I am working out if and how I might be useful, and learning about epidemiology, and it’s intersection with phylogenetics, which is phylodynamics. In case anyone is interested, or knows someone who might be, especially epidemiologists and virologists, more here:

  18. A. Feesh says

    I’d rather be B, but instead am C, because I work at a pizza place so we still offer carryout. I’d been planning to look for a different job because the pizza place is getting new owners any day as soon as state paperwork gets processed (who knows when though with all that is going on). We are short-staffed and I don’t have faith in the new owners to be able to keep the place going in the best of times, let alone now. They aren’t engaged enough in the business and learning the “front lines” of it.

    Plus I’m tired of seeing customers not take this virus seriously, “It’s overblown, it’s just the flu!” The majority aren’t like that, but enough of them to make you nervous and bleach everything.
    (I used to post here occasionally years and years ago as Possum).

  19. says

    Is this what retired life is like? Then I don’t want to retire.

    Of my kids, my oldest, Alaric, is still working phones in an office, so I think he’s sort of a C…but his work doesn’t require personal contact. I guess they’re considering furloughing workers, maybe as soon as next week.
    Middle son Connlann is a D — he’s signal corps in the Army, so he’s going into work every day to keep communications functioning.
    Daughter Skatje is an A, working at home on her thesis. I guess she was rebuilding her computer yesterday for better performance. What a nerd.

    My wife is still in isolation in Colorado, so B in the sense that she doesn’t get paid, but she’s doing a lot of vital childcare work with our granddaughter. So A in the sense that she’s getting paid with love and affection?

    We were just talking about travel plans. We might have to remain separated until May, when I’ll drive to Boulder to pick her up, finally. Or it might be longer, because it turns out grandmas are indispensable in a pandemic.

  20. captainjack says

    B. Retired. Listening to and learning a backlog of tunes. Charlie Haden, Leroy Vinnegar, Oliver Nelson, Grant Green to start. Working my way slowly through a bottle of peppermint schnapps for my morning cocoa.

  21. says

    I’d take A or B in a heart beat because I’m D right now. My job can’t be done from home and it must continue. Two weeks ago when we went into lockdown here in Portland we laid off 120 people in a single day. Me and the rest of the skeleton crew must keep things floating long enough to get those people back. I know it sounds a little Trumpian, but this is a small business and we just lost all of our out of state distribution network. I want this place to be a place they can come back to in after this is over. They can’t come back if we go belly up.

    So I keep going thinking every day of all my friends who are out of work right now. I take every precaution I can and hope we can keep the gears turning just fast enough to welcome them back. I don’t know when that’s going to be.

    DJT is trying to make it Easter Sunday. That’s absolutely insanely divorced from reality. Remember back in the halcyon days of 2017 when we used to joke about how Trump was going to “Get us all killed”? Well, here we are.

  22. says

    Counting my blessings as an A, although online teaching is not congenial to me and dragging three classroom courses to the Web overnight (“just go online” says admin) was brutal. Is brutal, in fact. My algebra students are withering on the vine and have little online presence; I know it’s because several of them are limited in technology or have a low digital comfort level (they’s why they enrolled in an in-person class!). If there are 25 students in the class and your video on equation-solving has only 6 views (and you know at least two of those were due to friends who checked it out for you)… [sigh]
    I count my blessings even while being defeated.

  23. Callinectes says

    I’m B. But I was also B before the outbreak, so other than the damning realisation that my standard way of being is the nightmare other people would only ever adopt under pandemic conditions, it hasn’t affect me at all.

  24. whheydt says

    Multi-(3)-generation household.

    My wife and I are “B” (Retired).
    Our son-in-law is “A”.
    Our daughter is somewhere between C and D. Her “office” is her and her boss (a lawyer). Clients come in from time to time and precautions are taken.
    Our grandson is somewhere between A and B, where the “job” is school, and the local schools have been closed for 2 weeks already. The earliest they may reopen at this point is 1 May. But I’m not betting on that. In the mean time, my wife and I are driving some minimal amount of school work. (Drives both sides of that more that slightly nuts.)

  25. GenghisFaun says

    I’m an A/B. I’m a contracted programmer/analyst who’s been told to work from home, but my hours have been reduced by 25%. (Not complaining! Was afraid of becoming a full B.) My wife, from whom I’m separated but with whom I cohabitate for child rearing purposes, is a D who works in one of Nashville’s biggest hospitals. I’m fully expecting to become an E due to her higher risk of exposure. She’s able to pick up extra hours to make up for my loss of hours, but that’s a double edged sword due to the increased risk of exposure. I’m just hoping I don’t get fully laid off down the road.

  26. nomdeplume says

    Yeah, need another category of “Retired, scared, if get disease will die”. And PZ, retired usually means working at things you want to work at in the comfort of home without having to deal with fools and sociopaths in the workplace. But it also usually means being able to meet friends for coffee and cake…..

  27. enki23 says

    Technically, I’m A. But my wife is D. My family, then, would be AD. The locus is clearly pleiotropic. The two alleles are codominant with respect to their economic effects, but when it comes to infection rates, the D allele has a disturbingly high penetrance.

  28. says

    A, sort of. I’ve been self employed for 20+ years and work mainly from home. A few customers still trickle down the drive, not much change from pre COV19 days. Don’t invite them inside for a cuppa anymore. Enough stored supplies for the humans and cats to keep going between fresh food gathering trips. With a big garden and a tatty old house I have plenty of other jobs to fill my days.

  29. nomdeplume says

    This thread is disturbingly sounding like dialogue from “Brave New World”.

  30. auntbenjy says

    B. I’m a teaching tech in a human biology course that has just gone fully online. There is nothing about my job that I can take home, but nothing now to do at work either. Luckily our government (NZ) has been quite generous with wage subsidies for people who can’t work. Left the house today for groceries, but that is all we are allowed to do if not deemed essential.

  31. fentex says

    I’m an A, but I’d rather be a B – I have no trouble amusing myself, and there’s plenty of chores to get done.

    Cut myself yesterday trimming my ivy.

    I’m finding it surprisingly hard to work from home, really hard to get into the work and concentrate – quite apart from numerous small technical irritants (first business once our national lockdown is over is get fibre installed).

    It’s day four of New Zealand’s national four week lockdown, and I’ve managed to clean my bedroom (but not do the washing I’ve taken out yet) and that’s about it.

  32. dianne says

    A, ready to convert to D if or rather when it becomes necessary. I’ve been out of clinical work for 5 years, but told my former colleagues that, knowing that I’d been out for 5 years, if it seemed like a good idea to call me, they should do so. May or may not have already been E. Had a flu-like illness despite flu shot. Partner also had it. The kid did not. Hmm…

  33. Katherine Eaton says

    Husband & son are A. C is closest for me, except my service job is not mindless…I like it. We sell office furniture, which is probably not necessay, strictly speaking. But, it is making it much more comfortabe for A’s out there who don’t generally work from home.
    I think B should be split into at least 2 categories…financially o.k. (eg. retired, spouse makes enough to cover – which is the category I’ll be in if I’m laid off.) and will be f@#$d if I don’t get income soon. I also have lots of projects I’d love the time to work on.

  34. Don Quijote says

    B. Retired and living in deepest, darkest Galicia. It appears that, fortunately, Galicia is one of the least affected in Spain.

    This comment is sent virus free.

    stay safe.

  35. christoph says

    @ chigau, # 40: Thanks for the good thought. It’s not really that bad. NyQuil does a good job of controlling the coughing. It tastes bad, but I can recommend it. Probably no running for a few weeks. Hope you’re okay, stay healthy.

  36. equisetum says

    Somewhere between C and D. My job is fairly mindless most of the time, but also sort of essential: I pick up blood samples from doctors and take them to the lab. Starting last week I also pick up the swabs from the Corona Drive-in Test Center and bring them to the lab to be tested.

  37. christoph says

    @ Badland, # 44: That’s rough. Can you collect unemployment or disability? I mentioned a while ago that NyQuil controls the coughing pretty well, also cuts down on the incessant wheezing. I hope you bounce back soon!

  38. chakolate says

    Do you have a separate YT page where you post classroom vids? Or will you post a link on the blog?