VIRUS DIARY: Pandemic life, captured digitally (literally)
NEW YORK (AP) — In journalism, when we’re trying to explain a complicated story, we often start with raw data. How many? How much? How long? How far?
I decided to use this same approach to document my life during the lockdown.
I began working from home in mid-March. Since then, I have left my one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood only for exercise and to buy groceries and other necessities.
As someone who is generally a homebody, lockdown really hasn’t been much of a hardship for me. If you’re lucky enough to still have your job, lockdown has its opportunities. You take up a new hobby, learn a new skill or get those projects done that you’ve been putting off.
Of course, you can also feel pangs of guilt for not taking full advantage of those opportunities. I’ve done my share of that. My Great American Novel remains unwritten.
Everyone’s lockdown story is a bit different. Here are some of the numbers that tell mine.
Approximate distance from my apartment to the park that marks the furthest limit of my travels since the lockdown began: 1/2 mile
Number of times I’ve gone to that park: 5
Approximate area I have lived my life in since mid-March, in acres: 41
Number of times I’ve been in a car: 0
Number of times I’ve used public transportation: 0
Number of times I’ve used a bicycle: 0
Number of times I’ve used any form of conveyance other than the elevator in my apartment building: 0
Approximate number of hours I spent each day commuting to and from my job pre-pandemic: 2
Kilowatt hours I used in the April-May 2019 billing cycle: 103
Kilowatt hours I used in the April-May 2020 billing cycle, my first full month of working from home: 145
Percentage change year over year: +40.8
Kilowatt hours I used in the May-June 2019 billing cycle — the month that I typically start using the air conditioner: 174
Kilowatt hours I used in the May-June 2020 billing cycle, the first month that I worked from home while using the air conditioner: 352
Percentage change year-over year: +102.3
Number of steps I took on an average day in 2019: 5,092
Number of steps I took on an average day in June 2020: 1,162
Percentage change: -77.2
Number of times I went to the gym between the time I joined in early January and when it closed in mid-March: 25
Number of pounds I lost during that time: 7.8
Number of pounds I’ve gained since then: 10.8
Number of times I’ve taken money out of an ATM: 1
Number of times I’ve used cash to pay for something other than to fill the card needed to operate the laundry machines in my apartment building: 1
Number of episodes in a lecture series on the Black Death that I added to my Amazon Prime Video queue thinking it was a two- or three-part documentary: 24
Number of those half-hour lectures that I watched: 24
Rank of reading books among the leisure activities I hoped to do more of during lockdown: 1
Number of books I have purchased on my Kindle since lockdown began: 3
Number of those books I have read in their entirety: 1
Number of pairs of shoes that I own: 6
Number I have worn during lockdown: 1
Number of cloth masks that I own: 2
Number of cloth masks I tried to make: 1
Number of those attempts that were successful: 0
Number of weeks I let my beard grow when the lockdown began: 7
Cost of a beard trimmer I bought on Amazon (probably while I was watching the lecture series on the Black Death): $22.99
Number of times I used it to trim my beard: 1
Number of times I used it to shave off most of my beard before finishing the job with a razor: 1
Virus Diary, an occasional feature, showcases the coronavirus pandemic through the eyes of Associated Press journalists around the world. Dave Clark is the mobile editor at The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dclark5