Post 55: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on going “touchless” in the new normal

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 55. 


Can’t touch this!

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I think we have all developed #coronavirus paranoia when it comes to touching anything. I know that I am very conscious of how many items I have to touch when out in public.

Many public places already have automatic doors, as well as touchless toilet flushers, faucets, and hand dryers. In some European cities, the public toilets go through a full automatic sanitation after every use. However, we are only at the tip of the iceberg with this technology. Many other public items should become touchless.

On any given day, I can touch so many public dispensaries such as a ticket machine, an ATM machine, a postal stamp machine, a snack vending machine, and a gas pump.

In March, while I was visiting England and people were still in coronavirus denial, I was buying a train ticket from a machine. It was so vile. Not only had it never been cleaned, but it was obvious that someone had spat on it. I was not going to waste my sanitizer cleaning the entire machine so I held my breath, got my ticket, and sanitized the hell out of my fingers.

No! Gross! I cannot do it anymore. All these machines must become touchless. I think this will be easy to accomplish. Much like the parking apps available today; we should have apps for everything.

Apps that can handle payments and produce tickets at public transportation machines. Maybe we can have a passcode in the app that allows you to access the retina recognition for high-security machines like ATMs. I’m not sure exactly how this will be implemented, but I am confident someone will design the solution.

Items to address:

  1. ATMs
  2. Ticket machines
  3. Mail drop off boxes
  4. Vending machines
  5. Handles made for passengers to hold on to in public transportation compartments.
  6. Rails of stairs and escalators
  7. Elevator buttons
  8. Touchscreen slot machines
  9. Touchscreen soda machines

Until such time as these items become touchless or controlled by an app, disposable clean finger covers (not gloves, but something like the rubber finger condoms worn by chefs when they cut a finger) should be available next to all machines. Of course, they should be made from biodegradable material because you know people will start littering.

Original found on Amazon.com.
No copyright infringement intended.

Contactless…no thanks!

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Many new ideas will emerge to help us (at least for the coming few years) as we navigate the presence of the throned germ in our lives.

One of these ideas is a key that helps us deal with opening the door, pressing keypad buttons, carrying things. Another is the contactless card that one scans over a credit card machine when making a purchase.

In the Far East, society functions using one’s own phone to make payments, board public transportation, and many other daily tasks in society.

I would probably purchase such a key and use it when I am out and about, but my question here is more philosophical than practical: What will being so worried about contact do to us as humans? We are a species that loves a hug; we are made to be in physical contact with one another. Will we start having relationships with an Orgasmatron soon, like in Woody Allen’s Sleeper?!

I am going out a bit more than I used to now that the lockdowns are beginning to ease. I smile at people I see; they don’t smile back because they don’t see my masked smile in the first place! I feel really silly smiling now.

A friend passed by the other day. We didn’t hug or do the 3 cheek kisses after not seeing one another for a long time. It feels awkward, emotionless, and cold.

What about when I want to thank someone profusely with a warm handshake? The key doesn’t do the job here and I, for one, am not looking forward to being impersonal in my contact with people in the future. I am a junior dinosaur on many levels, but then videotapes, CDs, and DVDs are a thing of the past that I did get over…


You’re on camera 🙂

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Virginia

Many moons ago, I worked for a company that specialized in biometrics. They were among the industry leaders in fingerprinting and retinal scanning. At the time, I thought the technology was pretty cool – but somehow a little creepy. I mean, who wants to have their retinas scanned so they can go to work? But that was back before iPhones looked lovingly at your face before letting you in.

Over these 55 days of lockdown, I’ve been thinking about how touchless technology, including retinal scanning, can solve problems: less bacteria, fewer infections. Better controlled pandemics, improved overall hygiene. But there are down sides, too. Touchless and other types of technology can help Big Brother take even more giant leaps.

If you use Face ID on your phone, guess what? Big Brother is probably making faces at you from behind an invisible screen. Want to get ahead at the airport? Just smile into the camera and skip to the front of the line. Your trusty airport security is watching.

Want to take public transportation? In most big cities, you can already link your phone to an account that gets debited every time you take the bus or the train. No germy turnstile to push, no coin or card slot to touch. And the authorities know exactly where you are and where you’re going. They might even know who you’re going to meet.

Vote by phone! Now your political preferences are known, and you didn’t have to touch a grimy voting booth. Shop online! Now your consumer profile is public, and you didn’t have to leave your home.

Whether providers use retinal scanning or other biometric technology, let’s face it: our eyes are not just the windows to our souls; they’re the keys to our bank accounts and personal data.

I could go on and on – there are so many examples of how super-sophisticated technology has invaded our daily lives – but here’s an essential point: what we thought was creepy and futuristic 10 and 20 years ago is today’s reality.

And is that reality so bad? With Artificial Intelligence, biometric information can help identify hotspots, predict future pandemic outbreaks, and perform contact tracing.

Do the risks of more invasive technology outweigh the benefits?

Either way, from this point forward, I think “touchless” and the “new normal” will – pardon the puns – see eye-to-eye and go hand-in-hand.


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Post 23: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

We’re friends and family from around the world, sharing our experiences and thoughts during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 23. Important Note: WE DON’T ALWAYS AGREE – nor do we have to! We post our opinions, and those of our guest bloggers, with no censorship.


By popular demand (well, okay, 9 likes on Facebook), today’s CHALLENGE is to discuss:

“What habits will forever change after this experience.”

Here we go.

Brave New World

RJD, Beirut, Lebanon

I read a post somewhere this morning (but couldn’t find it again to give the source credit and no copyright infringement intended) – but needed more coffee:

“What we learned in the last few days:

  1. The United States is no longer a superpower.
  2. China won World War III without firing a single shot and no one could stop it.
  3. Europeans are not as educated as they seem.
  4. We can survive the holidays without travelling.
  5. The rich are actually less protected than the poor.
  6. People become selfish and cowardly, regardless of their socio-economic situation, when prices rise.
  7. No priest, rabbi, or imam could save patients.
  8. People themselves are the real viruses on the planet.
  9. We can spend millions on people without any bureaucracy.
  10. Medical professionals are worth more than football players.
  11. Oil is useless in a society without consumption.
  12. Now we know how animals feel at the zoo.
  13. The planet is quickly restored without human intervention.
  14. Most people can work from home.
  15. We and the kids can live without fast food.
  16. Prisoners detained for petty crimes can be released.
  17. Washing your hands and practicing proper hygiene is not difficult.
  18. Women are not the only cooks.
  19. There are many good people in the world.
  20. If you build more schools, you will have to build fewer hospitals.”

This list got me thinking about what the new world is going to be like, but as historians the world over know, we will find our way. 

When war broke out in Lebanon in 1975, there came a portion of that generation who lived the war as their normal; they lived in shelters, carried and operated weapons at age 12, had shortages of everything, no electricity, trash in the streets, random bombing, swearing oath to your idol politician or leader, friends and relatives killed; chaos prevailed. 

To that segment of Lebanese (now in their 40s and 50s), post-war Lebanon was the “abnormal.” They still thrive in situations where the sirens of trouble echo.

What I am trying to say is, humans – like other animals – adapt to their environment and learn how to navigate, albeit with difficulty for the first few generations. We went from hunters to farmers to industrialists to techies, after all! 

Found after extensive searching through text messages.
No copyright infringement intended.

Generations of young children and adults all over the world are dealing with the new normal and will teach us how to cope with it. A technology and AI generation will help us, just like the Industrial Revolution but on a world scale, and just like the war generations of the world and the good ideas that came out thereafter, human beings will find solutions. 

How do I see the future? 

“It will take a village.” 

The world will be a closer unit in thinking about the environment, in kindness, in selfless giving, and in development. 

“Globalization” will take on new meaning. We will be more united, once the greedy elders of the 80s and 90s generations retire. Once the Millennials and the COVID-19 generations take over, earth will be a better place to live on. We will see fewer wars, more economic equivalence, less waste and materialism, more consciousness, less “me,” and more “ours.”

I salute these brave future generations who will lead and show us the way. 


Pants Optional

RafifJ, Malaga, Spain

Retrieved from toonclips.com
No copyright infringement intended.
  1. Internet: Will be adopted as a universal human right and actually implemented around the world. Finally. Plus, with an Internet connection, you can do pretty much the rest of this list without wearing pants.
  2. Education: Distance learning IN; brick-and-mortar OUT. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection, anywhere, can learn. See Point #1. Pants optional. And of course, pants optional.
  3. Jobs: With education far more accessible to all, a lot of jobs will be too. If you can write, code, edit, format, coach, counsel, apply makeup, teach, talk, listen, sing, or do pretty much anything, you can find freelance work or create your own sensation. The gig economy will boom. See Points #1 and 2. Guess the rest 🙂
  4. Social & Business Etiquette: Goodbye, handshake; hello, hand over heart. Or elbow bumping for casual interactions. Or see point 1, and know that some earnest management consultant will come up with a “universal virtual professional salutation.”
  5. Commuting: Nope. Unless their profession REQUIRES face-to-face contact, more and more people will refuse to spend the time and money to travel to an office. Why do that, just to sit through a meeting or have a conversation? You can do that remotely. Plus, when you’re working / videoconferencing with your colleagues, you can do what??? Not wear pants.
  6. Government: More authoritarian. But wait! See Point #1. Societies will struggle with Internet and other freedoms while governments try to keep us in the dark, under lockdown, in economic chains, or some other dictatorial strategy. We’ll eventually win. Elections and voting will be purely Internet-based.
  7. Health Management: More telemedicine, except for when we need a #coronavirus or other vaccine. See Points #1 and #5.
  8. Shopping: Duh. But look beyond Amazon and Ali Baba as more businesses become online stores. See Point #1. Pants optional.
  9. Cash: We’ll see fewer bills and coins as touchless cards become the norm. As this happens, we’ll need fewer tellers, who will then go into the gig economy. See Point #3.
  10. Banking: You know you don’t need an actual building to have a bank, right? We’re seeing more and more Internet banks crop up, and they offer pretty attractive deals to those who don’t have a social need to interact with the teller. Now we mostly go for the ATM and the free coffee, anyway.
  11. Consumerism: Will decrease as people learn that they really don’t need as much as they think they do. Except shoes.
  12. Home-buying: We already have virtual tours and can check out the neighborhood. But our needs will change. In the future, when we look at neighborhoods, we won’t look for the best schools (see Point #1); instead, we’ll look for proximity to healthcare facilities (in spite of Point #7) and maybe the airport.
  13. Car Ownership: Will continue to decrease as we realize the environmental and financial benefits of calling for a cab, Uber, Lyft, Cabify, Bla Bla Car, or jetpack. Parking tickets will go bye-bye, and parking enforcement officers will join the gig economy, in keeping with Point #3.
  14. Cooking: People will do more of it as they realize it’s not as horrible as they once thought. They will have saved tons of money during lockdown (no open restaurants) and now they can transfer those savings into their Internet banks (Point #10) or spend it in the gig economy (Point #3). Pants optional.
  15. Dating: Not sure I want to go there. I mean, online dating was the new “normal,” and I guess it will just increase. Virtual dating is also on the rise, and now you can go on a “date” without leaving your living room. See points 1 and 4. Pants optional.

In conclusion: Many of us might experience the changes I’ve summarized above, and much more. We might be kinder, meaner, more or less generous, more or less aware….But I bet the Number 1 change is….a pants-optional lifestyle.


Face mask frenzy

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

In my opinion, we will all consider the face mask as the new normal. However, it will take on a creative twist as another fashion accessory.

After this pandemic, wearing a face mask will become second nature.

I predict that many entrepreneurs, like those who cornered the Poke and Bubble Tea enterprises, will jump on the bandwagon with specialty face mask stores. For example, we buy our underwear from lingerie stores and shoes from shoe shops – so it will be natural to go to the face mask store. Department stores (if they survive) will also have a section dedicated to face masks.

Masks will be available for purchase in packets or individually, because we will wear them it the same way we wear underwear. Change it at least once a day and don’t leave home without it.

Face masks will be available in different colors and materials. From organic cotton to vegan and synthetic. You can match your shirt, jacket, or even your wedding dress.

Just as with all our fashion accessories, we will have a Walmart standard, a Hello Kitty version, and an haute couture designer standard. Take the Oscars, for example. The reporter will be commenting on Jennifer Aniston sporting a Valentino dress and a Chanel face mask.

Jewelry stores will carry special face masks to appeal to a few elite who can and will pay to have diamond- and ruby-studded masks.

Most importantly, face mask production will be critical for soldiers and police force. These masks must comply with all uniform standards. In the future, we may be required to have the words “SICK” or “NOT SICK” attached to our masks so we can determine the appropriate social distancing to maintain. Or maybe there will be a sign on storefronts stating “THIS STORE IS A SICK-PEOPLE- FREE ZONE.”

We will no longer be allowed to show our teeth in public, so the exorbitant amounts of money spent on cosmetic dentistry will be a thing of the past. Actually, it will be rather embarrassing to see a person’s teeth and we will hide them in much the same way as we hide our boobs.

As a photographer, I’ve already patented my creation. It will be cutting-edge. My face masks will be have a photo of your face imprinted on them. And it will always show the mouth closed. Never exposing the teeth, I’m not a pervert!!!