Against Productivity in a Pandemic

Nick Martin in TNR:

This is a time to sustain. To find ease where we can in a world rapidly placing us into chaos. “We do not tend to see maintenance and care as productive in the same way,” Odell wrote. But we should.

This piece, the one you’re reading right now, took roughly an hour longer for me to write than it normally would have because I am currently sitting in my New York apartment thinking about a million different things: Are all my grandparents properly secluded? Is my extended family taking this seriously enough? Should I rent a car and drive home and get away from the city before it all really goes to hell? Are rental car companies going to be price gouging? When will the money from my canceled vacation return to my account? Did I order enough cat food? Do I have enough food? What will things look like two weeks from now? A year from now?

That is normal, now. That is the experience I am sharing with my friends and cousins and family and neighbors. While I’m still reading emails and scanning my drafts for revisions, my mind is miles away with the people that matter most to me. For those with the privilege and ability to conduct their work from home, the coming weeks should be a time to focus on ourselves, our communities, and our loved ones. It should be a time to do nothing and produce little without the accompanying feeling of guilt or panic caused by a ping from a higher-up that you should be doing more as the rest of your world slowly cranks to a halt.

More here.