Scarred by My Own Hands

First, I said I was allergic to cats. Then I blamed a food allergy. Then mosquitoes. But this was all a lie. My scabs — usually red and raw — were there because I made them. From age 8, I scratched myself. I scratched my forearms, my calves and my knees. I scratched and scratched…

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What if We Worried Less About the Accuracy of Coronavirus Tests?

Accuracy is everything, typically, when we take a diagnostic test — an incorrect result can lead to anguish and erroneous, if not harmful, treatment. Currently the most reliable way to identify a coronavirus infection is by a polymerase chain reaction (P.C.R.) test: A swab, usually taken from the nasal passage, produces a sample that is…

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Hunting for Glass Orbs on Block Island

BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — In a forest here, Katie Hall and members of her extended family were dangling her mother’s bra into a hollowed-out tree trunk with the laser focus of open-heart surgeons. When that failed, Ms. Hall, her mother, brother, aunt and cousin untied their shoes, using the laces to form a makeshift net…

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Working From Home: A Survey of Our New Out of Office Lives

OOO Out of Office: A Survey of Our New Work Lives Aug. 20, 2020 Yellowed newspapers. A mouse who met its end on a glue trap. Wilted plants. These were the scenes we photographed this summer at three New York City offices — including our own — amid a pandemic that has left millions of…

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From Handshakes to Fist Bumps: The Future of the Business Greeting

The handshake has been through a lot. Forged in antiquity, the preferred office greeting of the corporate era has survived the peace-sign-as-hello 1960s; the deal-clinching high-five 1990s; and the bro hug of the past decade (a manly-man micro-Heimlich ascending all the way from the playing fields to the Obama White House). But will it survive…

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Working From Home With Three Kids and No School

Tricia Dilley’s carefully designed morning routine used to begin with the “quiet car” — one of two designated cars of the 6 a.m. train where she would do her makeup, listen to a podcast or maybe read during her hourlong commute from West Orange, N.J., to her office in Manhattan. Talking and cellphones are verboten…

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Behold, ‘Workleisure’

Let us consider, for a moment, the Zoom sweater. Or rather, the ideal Zoom sweater. Will it be thick and reassuring, or thin and wrappable? Pullover or cardigan? Round neck, V-neck or high-neck? These are not immaterial questions. The Zoom sweater is, after all, the seasonal next wardrobe step after the Zoom shirt: the garment…

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Office Gossip Still Exists in Remote Culture

As the saying goes, if you don’t have something nice to say about anybody, come sit by me. Seriously, sit by me. Like Alice Roosevelt Longworth — to whom that quote has been attributed, and Olympia Dukakis’s Clairee in “Steel Magnolias,” who famously repeats it — I have a weakness for juicy, interpersonal information, a predilection…

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The Awkwardness of Starting a New Job Remotely During Coronavirus

José Goicoechea had just left his apartment for a quick trip to the grocery store in April when he got a calendar invitation. “I think I walked out at 11:55 and the meeting was at 12:00,” Mr. Goicoechea, 29, said. The other invitees on the Google Hangout included an H.R. person and Mr. Goicoechea’s manager,…

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Working From Home: Meet the Man Who Won’t

At the very beginning of April, Steve Swanson drove from his home in Glen Ellyn, Ill., to his office in Chicago. He told himself it was just a one-time thing, a visit necessitated by his need to collect files not accessible by computer. But it was more than that. It was a fix. Within two…

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