The Day the Earth Stood Still

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Continuing the conversation… about our daunting, still evolving experience of the coronavirus and the completely unanticipated, shockingly-busy real estate market that has emerged.

Here we are trying to figure out whether schools should reopen. Or whether we should close beaches in Santa Cruz. Or whether any of us can go to the office or get a haircut next week.  Meanwhile, most listings that came on the MLS this week are in escrow with multiple offers, for prices we’ve never seen before.

I’ve been through a lot of crazy markets but this is by far the most astonishing. To go from complete shelter in place shutdown to this level of showing and selling activity in such a short time is incredible. And, I have to keep reminding myself…there’s more to come.

At first glance, there’s a huge disconnect between real estate and the real world. Who would want to buy a home during a pandemic? Don’t Buyers know there’s a recession?  Where are they coming from?  In a moment when everything in the world feels like it’s up in the air,  there’s a mad rush of people trying to find places to settle down.

But, is this crazy market happening despite the coronavirus? Or, is it happening because of it? My vote is for the latter.  And if it’s possible to disconnect oneself from the day-to-day intensity of it all, it’s a fascinating glimpse of future shifts that may be in store post-Covid.

Everyone is struggling to find ways to language the transcendental nature of the coronavirus – something that’s everywhere around us and yet almost impossible to describe. Some have turned to popular movies to anchor their COVID experiences. Among them:

Contagion, the Michael Crighton book made into a movie with an all-star cast struggling with the litany of ills that comes with the virus: confusion, societal breakdown and individuals who refuse to follow the rules.  And Ground Hog Day, a movie that depicts that mind-numbing solitude and sameness of shelter in place, where everyday is just like the last one.

My pick would be The Day the Earth Stood Still (Michael Renne 1951 version not the Keaneau Reeves 2008 shlock). The eponymous moment occurs when the alien visitor causes everything in the world to stop for a half hour in the middle of the day – cars, elevators and all wheels of the commerce grind to a halt.

And that’s really what has happened with COVID.  The world hit the pause button and in the gap of the existential moment, people have had an opportunity to reflect on their lives and re-envision their futures.

NEXT Week:  What the real estate market is telling us about the future

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