We went golfing yesterday morning with another couple, who we’ve wanted to golf with for quite some time. But……..all four of us are busy people involved with family, charities, part-time jobs, hobbies and friends. The pandemic has slowed down our lives so there was time for a morning of physically distanced exercise and fresh air and interesting conversation. Wonderful!
Yesterday in the early evening we went for a walk with a fellow church member, someone we don’t see that often. He took us through his neighbourhood in the heart of the inner city. I was familiar with the area because two of the elementary schools I work at for the university are nearby.
But………… I had never been there when the weather was warmer, the workday was over, and many people were outdoors interacting with one another. The sidewalks were too narrow and many not well -kept, so we walked down the middle of the streets to keep our physical distance. Our walk and our conversation with our friend helped us get a sense of a part of our city that is dynamic and interesting but also home to poverty, violence and neglect.
We chatted with our condo neighbours who joined us for a glass of wine on our rooftop last night. Our neighbours come from France. The woman’s family hails from Toulouse and she told us how the pandemic has impacted that city whose economy depends almost solely on the aerospace industry, an industry that employs her sister and some 90,000 other people in the Toulouse area. They make Airbus planes in Toulouse and there simply isn’t a demand for new aeroplanes right now.
Our neighbours, who are experts in their professional fields, cancelled lectures they were to give in some half dozen spots around the world this spring. But……. they still gave many of those lectures online and their audiences were much, much larger than they had anticipated. Why? Because people didn’t have to fly to a high-priced conference and pay for airfare, hotels and food as they did so. They just joined a zoom meeting or some other form of electronic conferencing and heard the same speakers and lecturers at a tiny fraction of the cost.
We talked about how this might be the wave of the future. The demand for air travel for business and academic and professional reasons will wane as people realize they can connect online so much more cheaply. The plane manufacturing business in Toulouse and other places may not be rallying anytime soon.