St. Patrick's Day in Chicago - March 17th, 2020

It's Tuesday night in Chicago.

I've just arrived home, after thinking all day about what to write in this post.
Every day feels stranger the the previous. Each of the last 7 days has been increasingly more surreal. I didn't think they would be, wasn't even sure they could be.

Each day, the streets become more empty.

Each day more doors are closed, with more signs in the windows. 

Today I actually hopped on a bus on Michigan Avenue, and was the sole passenger.

Just me and the driver.

At work, it was me and Eva. Faithful Eva. Came to work, brought her lunch, helped the one customer she got, sold them a phone, went home.
A normal enough day, I guess.
But honestly, the feeling in the air, while mostly-unspoken, was still there.
No words need exchanged to know that, for the most part, we all share a similar feeling.

That strange, stomach-tightening feeling.
Some may call it anxiety, trepidation, doom, ann number of terms, usually reserved for discussion of a scary movie, haunted house or Stephen King novel.
The feeling of the unknown.

I think doom is a little extreme at this point, and the fact that there are a (small) number of people still out and about, says that it can't be that bad-- yet. But not knowing what tomorrow will bring- THAT- is probably the worst part. I think that in general, most understand that the coronavirus is not going to kill us, but that we can spread it to others that it could hurt. We know that our day to day lives are changing- drastically and rapidly- to help 'flatten the curve' as they are saying.

I am proud of what I have seen from my fellow Chicagoans and Illinoisans overall. During scary times like these (regardless of the reality and severity of the situation, which we still don't know), it's our natural response to be scared, upset, emotional. These feelings are the type of feelings that cause many to react irrationally, sometimes extremely so.

But, i haven't seen it. Aside from some hoarding of toilet paper, and occasional reports of supermarket indiscretions,  I am proud of what I am seeing and hearing.

I am proud of US.

This isn't easy for anyone.
Many employees have gone without work, with little or no notice.
Many business owners, forced to shutter their shops, or voluntarily done so in the interest of the health of others.

Restaurants, gyms, retail, offices-  The effects are wide-reaching, and indiscriminate.
Nevertheless, I think we're doing a good job, with what we've got, and no experience in dealing with it.

Not just us, though. I think for the most part, city, state and other government officials are also doing a pretty good job. I don't know how I would deal, were I in charge.

There is no 'Drill' for something like this, no handbook.
Sure, there are loosely worded contingency plans, but nothing specific enough to set as a procedure. These measures put in place, are being modified day by day, sometimes hour by hour, as this fluid situation evolves.

Sure, there are those keyboard heros. You know, the ones sitting at home, spewing hate, trolling the internet for fights, picking them with strangers (sometimes its difficult not to, with some of what I've seen written!), sometimes even irresponsibly posting and fake news as facts. These people, high up on their soapbox, stating their version of how this or that should be handled. After reading some of the most extreme social media posts, I am shocked at what I see. It often seems, many of these talking heads are experts in their fields (medical, political, faith, business, etc), with the MOST experience dealing with this type of situation.

I'll admit it, it's hard not taking the bait if theses trolls. Sometimes, recently, I haven't been able to resist making a response. I see some things people post, and just become so amazed at their level of confidence- the confidence that what they are sharing are FACTS, even going so far as to fight online with strangers, calling them names, cursing them out- the antics of school yard bullies (but with no risk of a black eye or split lip).  I can guarantee one thing- I never claim to be better or worse than anyone else out there. I will not ever tell you that my opinion is more valid than yours.
NONE of us are perfect.

I don't know everything, nor do I claim to.

What I do know is this- we are all humans on the same planet, breathing the same air, and it going to be a lot easier for us to share this space if we share it with respect.

Please try to keep in mind, as we go through this together:
Everyone has opinions right now, and many are very vocal about them. Most importantly, everyone has EMOTIONS right now.

Please try to be gentle and kind to each other - It will only be easier to go through it together, not separately. We don't need to agree, but we DO need to get along.

Be Well.