Deconfined thoughts.


Without contact?

Of course without contact. Barrier. We keep our distance. No more manly handshakes, no more comforting hugs, we don't even talk to our neighbours, not within a metre anyway. And we stick with it for a while, for our own good.

So believe me, it's costing me because I'm usually the kind of person who complains about the advances in social distancing. Self-checkouts drive me crazy: I save time, but mostly I feel like I'm working for others, and for free - there's probably a salary lost somewhere. Dating on Tinder: I understand the frenzy, but still, letting the mystery of love work is worth all the e-conversations in the world, right? I admit, I sometimes order on Amazon, but I feel guilty for my bookseller, who loses a good opportunity to give good advice, and for the planet, which sees cargo planes full of paraffin flying by. I have time to spare now, but I'd pay a lot of money to exchange it for a chat at the local café. Question to myself: am I an anti-progressive old fart? I hope not! In fact, I like technological progress when it makes life easier and more attractive for everyone. A very simple example: Back Market, the (super) refurbished market. It's infinitely more ecological. And it's definitely cheaper. Win-win.

At the same time, the crisis has made us realise that life can go on at a distance almost as before. FaceTime aperitifs, Zoom meetings, Culturebox concerts, Disney+ film screenings, Facebook Live yoga classes, Amazon shopping (oh no, that's not new)... And the big winners of Containment 2020 are... the pure players of course. But not only! The FIFA 20 video game has never sold so well. Peloton, a start-up that sells rowing machines and exercise bikes with a large LCD screen that provides exercises, challenges and encouragement, is a huge hit in the United States. Tempting, when gyms are in a slump. Are they merely palliatives for a temporarily unattainable Eden or high-performance alternatives capable of changing our consumption patterns in the long term?

If the delta experience is positive, yes it can last. I'm sure that brands like Lillydoo or Little Big Change, to name but a few, are currently doing very well. They deliver nappies on a personalised subscription basis (or the assurance of always being equipped at a time when the risk of a shortage in the shops still looms in the collective unconscious). Their strength is there: the subscription! Like Netflix & Co, they commit people over time. So unless there is a big disappointment with the product - and I think they are at the top of their game - they have captive, and therefore loyal, customers. But so much the better, it's simpler, it's better, it's cheaper; to try it is to adopt it. Perhaps we should also talk about all the things we no longer do... We buy a lot less, necessarily. And according to the Ifop, the rationalisation of consumption will continue. We realise that we are not lacking anything 'essential'. We can see with our own eyes that the planet is already breathing a little better - in Venice the water has never been so clear. More informed people will demand more transparency, more health guarantees, more quality. And the brands are already taking their responsibilities!

Well, asceticism is not for the moment either. At the end of these weeks of abstinence, a wave of hyperconsumption is to be expected. In any case, I'll go and deconsecrate myself at the bar! I've got some overdue sales to spend, and let's be good customers, we'll owe them that much, they've waited a long time for us. The first round is on me, I've already promised my friends!

Not many answers in this paper: a few paradoxes and a lot of ambiguity. Suspended time is an opportunity to look at what we are doing. And to ask ourselves what we want?