East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

All I needed to know I learned… somewhere


There’s a lot of articles being posted on blogs and things about how to work from home. In Italy, a country that was criminally behind in terms of telecommuting jobs, the possibility of working via the net is causing a small quake, but it looks like all over the world we are seeing a sudden “discovery” of remote working.

Another very popular topic on blogs and socials is what to read/watch/do while the country is in lockdown – huge to-read lists, playlists and what else. A lot of publishers and authors are giving away some of their books – I am doing it myself, because it’s nice to try and show some solidarity and manage to pass for human.
And then there’s the vast population of nerds and geeks and anoraks that keep patting each other on the back, because they were prepared all along, because they learned how to handle this situation watching Dawn of the Dead or playing Resident Evil.

I am not particularly prepared, despite my age-old acquaintance with genre fiction. The situation is not such as to force me to use notions acquired by reading David Brin’s The Postman or Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Years of Rice and Salt, or James Herbert’s ’48 or by watching the Mad Max movies (see? Reading and viewing suggestions!)
Maybe the major effect of all those misspent years is a certain hardening – I am not particularly surprised or shocked as things happen, because I saw it happen before, in fiction.
Does this make me more prepared to survive?
I doubt it.

Probably the single most useful skill developed/acquired during those long years as a geek is the ability to be alone for long periods of time without particular ill effects. “Social distance” was everyday life back in high school, and I spent most of my time alone. I have seen people become rabit because they can’t go out for drinks in the evenings – which is weird, because I never went for drinks myself, and so I cannot understand the shock.
In the last ten years I have also stopped going to the movies, for the simple fact that to get to a proper cinema I need to take a train and travel one hour.
So, because of a strange intersection of circumstances, I am OK with this quarantine thing.
Give me a good book and a place to sit, and I’ll be fine.
And I have a nice fat stack of books now here at hand, and more coming, and I have books and stories to write, volumes to translate…
I have videogames and streaming services, and online courses, and I will not succumb to cabin fever anytime soon.

So let’s sit tight and weather the storm.
I will post about my reading supplies, my games and my movies in the next few days, just to keep my daily routine of one post per day – and in this way you’ll know how I am keeping myself entertained.
You try and do the same out there.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “All I needed to know I learned… somewhere

  1. Yeah, my wife is one of those people who can’t stay in the house for more than two or three days in a row. She simply HAS to go out. Me? I’ve been known to stay in the house for up to ten days straight at a time. Mainly because everything that I like to do is in my house. It used to be that I had to go out to see movies but thanks to streaming, VOD and Blu-Ray that is no longer the case.

    So yeah, I’m pretty good with the whole self-quarantining thing, thank you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

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