March 17, 2020

The New Normal.

I feel like we are in the midst of a societal ‘reset’. Much like back in 2001 during 9/11, I feel like some of the things we’re doing right now are going to result in permanent changes with the way we do things. Will the in person toll collectors come back to the Illinois Tollway? What restaurants will close permanently? Will bars here in Chicago end up serving to go drinks from now on? What societal changes will result from the measures we are taking to contain the COVID-19 virus?

The streets were quiet today when I went to the an FAA Airman Medical Examiner for my required medical exam today. When it was time to leave with my newly printed medical certificate I bumped elbows with the elderly doctor without a second thought. It’s how we exchange pleasantries tonight. Driving around Chicago is pretty easy at the moment. The idea of getting out to O’Hare without tapping the brakes at least once on the Kennedy Expressway is novel, but it’s the way we’re doing things right now.

With the restaurants closed except for take away of some sort, one restaurant/bar in the neighborhood just gave up the ghost and boarded up shop. Closed forever. To be fair, they were planning on doing so later this year when the building is ripped down for something newer with more residential occupancy, but they sped up their plans and left shop. Done.

People walk a wider berth on the sidewalks .We still smile at one another and exchange pleasantries, this is one of the things I love about living in this part of Chicago, but we do it with a little more space between us. Personal space is now a six foot radius from our vantage point.

Is this the new normal?

I was happy to see the marquee at one of the nearby venues to have a friendly message. It injects hope into the spirit of the neighborhood. This message is not alone; there are many marquees and the like in the area sharing positive vibes.

Positive vibes is what we need.

In some ways I hope we come out of this pandemic with a reduced frenetic pace. Take time to smile. Say hello.

Bump elbows.