During a winter storm warning meteorologists use the phrase “hunker down”. As in: get your bread, milk, and eggs and hunker down because you’re not going to want to leave the house for a while, but you are definitely going to want to make French toast!
During a pandemic, the new phrase is “out of an abundance of caution”. As in everything in life is cancelled indefinitely….or until further notice.
I am a doctoral student at a university and I work at a writing project site in a different university. Both institutions are closing for the remainder of the semester and using online learning platforms. Both emails that informed me included the phrase “out of an abundance of caution”.
My second graders were supposed to go on a field trip at the end of the month. Today I got an email from the site stating that “out of an abundance of caution” they were cancelling all school trips until the end of April.
The dance studio where I take ballet and tap sent an email about classes ending 5 minutes early so teachers can wipe down equipment before the next group comes in. That email began with, “Out of an abundance of caution…”
I get it. We are cautious. Abundantly so. I’ve now heard this phrase so many times it has lost all meaning. Were these places feeling a scarcity of caution previously when the fear was still overseas? Was there a lack of caution but now that planet Earth is on lock-down there is a greater cause for caution? It just struck me as funny that so many different places that I encounter are all using this turn of phrase. We get it. This is a code red. Caution is implied- now matter how abundant.