The Early Days
Pissed Off! I had spent the previous two weeks planning for a second trade show that I had just learned wouldn't be happening on March 24th. Now I had extra work to cancel flights and reservations. I felt like this was an over-reaction. Thought mostly about the poor company that ran the tradeshow and how much money they would lose.
Found a website that helped me understand what was coming. Italy was, by all measures, taking MORE aggressive actions than the US could ever take and it was clear that they were losing the battle. I evolved from pissed off to focused.
Slow Recognition. Went to Walmart. Needed a few things. Was a bit stunned to see virtually all the cleaning and paper products were gone from the shelf. I bought a surface cleaner and began a daily routine of spraying and wiping down the office very day.
Big Day. The WHO finally labeled this as a pandemic. It dawned on me that my over 80 parents should self-quarantine. I made my case to them.
The president scheduled a 6pm address from the Oval Office. It was horrible. He seemed more worried about his performance than keeping me safe. He was focused on the economy and suggested a payroll tax reduction which seemed to completely miss the point of people losing their jobs.
As disappointed I was with the US Government's response, the bigger news that evening was America's most beloved actor, Tom Hanks announced he had tested positive and the NBA "suspended" its season after planning to play without fans only hours before. This made it more real than what I heard the President say.
Dominos Tumbled. Everything changed. All sporting and theater events were cancelled. Schools started closing...first the University's and then everything else. Local and state governments started limiting all public gatherings. Things I thought weren't possible were now happening every hour.
My company is perfectly designed to operate with everyone staying home. We spend our days on laptops and in on-line meetings anyway. This was an easy decision to send us all home. On the way, I thought I would stop at Costco for a few things. It was crazy. Normally at 2:30 on a Thursday afternoon the parking lot would normally be 75% empty. Today there was a line of cars trying to get into the parking lot. They announced as I entered, "WE HAVE NO PAPER PRODUCTS...WE HAVE NO WATER" and despite that warning, the place was crazy.
Eve put me through a decontamination routine as I entered the house. I've never been so clean. That night the talks shows shed their audiences and tried to carry on. I didn't think it would be a big deal to watch without an audience but nothing seemed funny. It was hard to laugh.
I'm still optimistic. I converted cash into equity wondering if I had found the market's bottom.
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