What if This Pandemic Happened 30 Years Ago?

Last Sunday, we had a virtual Sunday dinner with my husband’s parents, brother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Some of us were eating and drinking wine and others were hanging out in the sunshine, all at our own homes. We all appreciated that we could see each other without being near each other.

There are two things that were said during that video chat that have stuck with me this week. One was a question from our uncle, “What if this happened 30 years ago?” and another was a statement made by another participant, “the economy can’t get any worse than it is.”

It seems to me that both the question and the statement, though made at different points in our conversations, are related. If this HAD happened 30 years ago, things would be much different and SO. SO. SO. MUCH.WORSE!

This is due to one main reason – back in 1990, the vast majority of us did not have the internet. Imagine being told to stay at home all these weeks and not have the internet?? The economic impact would be 10 times worse than it is now. Or more.

Think about it.

People who are now working from home would not have been able to do so which would have led to a huge increase in unemployment, much more than there is now and those numbers are staggering. Last I heard, 1 in 10 Americans are out of work.

We would not be able to order our food and essential items from grocery stores, restaurants and retail giants (another tremendous hit to the economy with those delivery drivers’ jobs lost) let alone have them delivered to our doorsteps. We would have had to defy the stay-at-home orders and curfews to fulfill our basic needs unless of course, you were a farmer or someone who lived off the land. That kind of life gets more and more appealing to me as I get older!

We would not be able to video chat or do the now famous virtual happy hours to stay connected with our family and friends. And there would be no social media! Gasp! Imagine going through this without Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? How would we live??????????? Oh the horror!!!!!!! (Wait, I actually gave up social media for Lent and survived. But I am not going to lie. I missed seeing how my friends and families are doing during this challenging time.)

Only a few of us would have had cell phones. The cell phone camera came out in 2002 and the first Smartphone did not come out until 2003 so there would be no sending pictures, no Facetiming, no texting, no apps to make our lives easier and more entertaining. Nothing! We would have had to go back calling each other on the phone, writing letters and playing board and card games.

There was no Netflix or Hulu or Video on Demand or anything like that! We would have had to break out our VHS tapes or those famous shaky home videos (DVDs did not come out until 1996.) And, we had but a fraction of the channels that we have now.

Music would have been limited to what we already had in our homes. We would have had to listen to the radio, records and our cassette tapes on our boxes and walkmans. Only a few of us would have had CDs at that time and there was no such thing as downloading music! We would have been screaming “I want my MTV!” and would have fought with our parents and siblings for control of the remote.

There would not be access to online workouts on Youtube or fitness apps. Since the gyms all closed, we would have had to pull out our old workout tapes or rely on the 30 minute workout shows (like Bodies in Motion and Getting Fit with Denise Austin).

We would have had to totally skip our doctor’s appointments. There would be no virtual appointments. You would just have to hope and pray that you would be okay until you could see a physician.

Schools would be completely shut down. There would have been no online teaching. No pass/fail grades. Nothing. The school buildings and campuses are all closed right now in many states but students are still getting some type of education online. Back in 1990, that would not be possible.

These are just a few of the scenarios that likely would have occurred if this had happened 30 years ago. I’m sure you can think of more. And as for the economy “not getting any worse” – I disagree. The country is much wealthier than it was in 1990 and even during the Depression Era. While I do not like to rely or depend on the government, they, along with other businesses are trying to help in many ways by extending unemployment benefits, suspending mortgage and rent payments, discounting car insurance, and deferring credit card payments for those who have lost their jobs. The economy is like us right now, on pause, waiting to once again emerge triumphantly!

We will get through this – with the help of God, our family, our friends, our pets and…the internet!

By the way, there are people going through this pandemic without the internet. Think about those in low income areas and on Indian Reservations. Many do not have an internet connection and some do not even have running water, but that is a whole other problem and point of rage and disgust with me. How can people wash their hands thoroughly when they do not have running water or clean water? I digress and will save that for another post.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

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