Lockdown temperature check: How you doing?

Has the Paper Anniversary, when you had your last haircut, come and gone? Are you a shaggy vision of your former self? And is that a good thing?

Do you remember whether the person in the next cubicle in your old office was a man or woman?  Do you miss all those people honking and waving at you on your daily commute?

Whether you do or not, whether your continue to work from home or are ordered back to the office, things and people have changed, maybe for the better, maybe not. And while the masks are slowly coming off, it may be awhile before stay-at-homers get used to coming into the office every day, or until those of us who continued to work from the traditional office get used to lighter traffic, easier parking and talking again to real people instead of virtual coworkers.

But it’s time for another temperature check, so last week we asked how people were holding up. So many good replies we’re going to have to split the results — here are those who came in first. Overall, it sounds like a lot of people adjusted rather nicely. And thanks:

“That  was a great article — gets us thinking about the ‘new normal.’ For those of us who remember rotary-dial telephones and clockwise — before digital timekeeping — there is nothing new about even-numbered license plates getting gas on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday and odd-numbered plates are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and they stopped giving away tiger tails and Flintstone glasses.

“The new normal for many is to work from home and reserve the limited gas supply for the UPS, FedEx, and Amazon drivers instead of a trip to the mall. We certainly are learning new skills such as Zoom, [Microsoft] Teams and hair trimming for the spouse and maybe our kitchen skills are also getting better. Where did I put that ‘Joy of Cooking?’

“A lot of current assumptions are getting challenged. I won’t comment on the interpretation of assume. Management really has to rethink personal versus group needs — can I mandate that a person must get vaccinated to come back to the office or do I have to live with the risk to the other team members? Can those other team members demand to telework if everyone is not vaccinated? Maybe we just need to ‘get smart’ and invest in some cones of silence.” — Geoff in Philadelphia

“My office has not given us any instructions to return. Regardless, the office has a small staff even before the pandemic. And many of the staff come and go during the day. Commuting has never been a joy for me since I live 35 miles from the office and the drive has always been stressful. Leaving hours before the rush hour in both directions has eased that frustration. Being alone in the office for much of the day would be worse than working from home. At least I can have a conversation with my wife.  I would enjoy working a longer day to avoid the unproductive commute. Fortunately for me my work is being on the computer eight hours a day and the technology of video calls has improved greatly over the past few years. But the conversations are just not the same. Most avoid the video calls because they are having a bad hair day, or they are still in the pajamas.

“Going back to work would cause other stresses such as standing in line waiting for coffee or getting in an elevator. Any time someone would be coughing you may jump back out of fear that they may have COVID. Prices for everything has gone up due to supply shortages, the $10 lunch will turn into the $15 lunch. The buffet and salad bar will be a thing of the past. Hand sanitizers will be leaking in your pocket or handbag. Shaking hands and hugging will be an awkward moment of explaining yourself and possibly insulting the person. “ — AG in Miami

“Thank you for asking. [By the way] — just keep in mind that the more you feed your chickens, the more you get your feed back. Do you like the new normal? Absolutely. Are you healthier? Yes —walking regularly, keeping weight where it belongs and for the first time in forever, did not take ill during 2020, not even a cold. Are you more relaxed? You betcha, my commute is 12 steps long. No one trying to kill me on the roads, no Virginia Railway Express delays and excuses.

“What do I think is coming? We will undoubtedly be called to return to the office. I am prepared to request a reasonable accommodation to be allowed to remain in telework status, already have it drafted up — age and family health are the foundations for it. I also think that the current administration is more concerned with power and control, so reductions in our freedoms and choices will be slow in coming. I believe that they will make the immunizations a requirement for employment as a fed. Yes, I did get the shot(s). Please keep on talking to us.” — Jay B. 

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

The basement-level McDonald’s at Rome’s Roma Termini train station has a segment of the nearly 2,400-year-old Servian Wall is on display in the middle of the dining area. The Wall was built in the 4th Century B.C. as a primary defense around Rome.

Source: Atlas Obscura

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Sep 17, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.2077 -0.0415 4.43%
L 2025 12.0240 -0.0418 8.33%
L 2030 42.5522 -0.1952 10.54%
L 2035 12.7953 -0.0643 11.50%
L 2040 48.4773 -0.2641 12.46%
L 2045 13.2947 -0.0772 13.28%
L 2050 29.1552 -0.1795 14.12%
L 2055 14.3671 -0.1053 17.18%
L 2060 14.3671 -0.1053 17.18%
L 2065 14.3671 -0.1054 17.18%
G Fund 16.6644 0.0006 0.88%
F Fund 21.0666 -0.0298 -0.55%
C Fund 66.6676 -0.6128 21.56%
S Fund 85.0861 -0.0794 16.31%
I Fund 39.4469 -0.3006 11.70%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at tsp.gov
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.