Mining People Magazinewww.miningpeople.org
by Debra McCown
Staff Writer/Field Reporter
Finding the Positive in 2020
Mining people have always had an above average
level of optimism, the confidence to take calculated
risks, and a faith in technology as a tool.....
hey say hindsight is 20/20, and looking back over the year 2020 – what a year. If this year
were an ice cream flavor, it would taste like winter highway slush. If it were a scented candle,
it would smell like a field of burning porta-potties. If it were a pinata, it would be full of angry
hornets. And not just any hornets – murder hornets.
That’s how Internet memes have interpreted this year, and it’s certainly been an interesting one.
For many people, 2020 has been a long lesson in gratitude, patience, learning, and improvisation.
But all things considered, 2020 could’ve been worse. There haven’t been any large, apocalyptic
occurrences. The volcano under Yellowstone hasn’t blown up in a super-eruption, an earthquake
hasn’t turned the California coast into a series of islands, East Coast population centers haven’t
been overtaken by hordes of zombies, and no one has started World War III.
So, overall? Maybe not such a bad year. We can deal with a toilet paper shortage and a little bit of
extra hand-washing that we probably should’ve been doing anyway.
I think what’s got a lot of people down this year is that, for many, it’s been a slow drag of monotony
and boredom. Stuck inside trying to avoid the virus, they’ve become frustrated by the hundreds of
ways that a pandemic can impact their lives.
Their favorite restaurants are closed. Work, school, and worship schedules are out of whack.
They can’t visit grandma. It’s annoying to have to wear a mask. Working from home is a constant
balancing act – and a stream of online meetings and teleconferences full of painful awkwardness as
people who are used to meeting in the office learn to use technology for the first time.
All of these things are true to some degree even for those of us who’ve been working throughout,
and for those who live in states that didn’t completely shut down.
Meanwhile, it’s been an interesting political season, with the country’s ideological divisions
heightened by the time people have had to spend on social media, beating the drum for their
candidates – and the seemingly apocalyptic fears held by each side if the other were to win.
Well, the election is over (thank goodness), and the political signs set up like battle lines have finally
come down from most neighborhood front yards. People seem to have calmed down a little, and
maybe got some of their sanity back. There is, so far, no apocalypse.
And those who were out protesting in droves over summer: With cool weather setting in for the
Northern cities that were rioting hotspots, we’re suddenly not hearing so much about violence in
the streets; the general state of unrest that grew amid pandemic-related frustrations and political
anxieties seems to have cooled as well.
There seems to be some level of acceptance now that there’s a pandemic, that all the petty
annoyances that come with it are going to be around for a while, and that regardless of who is
sworn to the White House next month, the country will continue to move forward – albeit with social
In the mining industry, like in every other industry, events have been changed, postponed, canceled,
rescheduled, reconfigured, and rescheduled again. Conferences have taken to Zoom, and trade-
show booths have been set up in experimental, virtual form. It’s a little different, but humans are