Wednesday, July 24, 2024

STEVE CAMERON BLOG: What are you reaching for?

| May 16, 2020 8:27 AM

Still here.


I have a question for everyone who’s been working at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Are you reaching for alcohol — or some other mood enhancer — a little sooner than you did when stuck with that office routine?

If all of you say no…

Well, somebody’s fibbing.

We don’t have any proof, at least not yet, on extra use of drugs (prescribed and otherwise).

But booze?

Yeah, Idahoans are imbibing more of it, and earlier in the day, if they’re working at home during the lockdown.

Even if you’re not getting hammered, or stoned out of your gourd, it’s natural that the frustrations of this weird claustrophobia would make people reach for their “personal relaxer” more often than when they’re forced to interact with the world face to face.

According to an survey of 3,300 anonymous workers stuck at home, Idahoans are sipping their first drink of non-weekend days at 4:36 p.m., on average.

Ooh, that’s earlier than most states — plenty are still after 5 o’clock, although West Virginians apparently are starting at 3:24.

I’ve lived there, by the way.

It’s actually a surprise they don’t crack a cold one before noon in West Virginia.

Right, back to the serious discussion.

Here’s a quote from the press release that followed the survey…

“Many people prefer to keep business and pleasure separate and choose to drink only on weekends.

“However, now that weekdays and weekends seem to blur together, one in five people who previously drank only during the weekends say they now drink during the week.”

There is also an admission tucked in here, suggesting workers realize that while they aren’t pie-eyed most of the day, their productivity may be starting to dip.

For instance, 15 percent of home workers who drink at all admit to having more hangovers than they did before the lockdown — which kind of suggests they’re drinking more in addition to starting earlier.

The numbers quoted here might not suggest the entire Idaho workforce is falling off a cliff, but the pattern is worth remembering as restrictions ease, but working at home remains the preferred option for many companies.

Personally, I can’t even enjoy a glass of wine these days (alcohol doesn’t mix with a medication I’m taking), but if I were stuck working at home in the old days…


Part of the excuse there would have been the myth that creative people – even writers – need booze or drugs to unlock their talent.

Which is complete nonsense.

So what if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was putting cocaine under his eyelids to find some inspiration while penning the adventures of Sherlock Holmes?

If I tried that, I wouldn’t be able to find my laptop. Or want to.

I guess the point today is that these earlier weekday drinking times aren’t exactly ruinous -- at least not yet.

But down the road, as homebound workers get more and more comfy with the idea of being “relaxed” while they’re on the clock?

It’s probably not a trend that will encourage brilliance.

“Breathe In. Breathe Out. Move On.”

— Jimmy Buffett


You’re invited to join Steve’s blog. Toss in any thought or opinion, as long as it doesn’t get us sued.

The blog appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday online at

It runs Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in The Press print editions.


Facebook: Steve Cameron