Precautionary.

If I can fly an airplane at 150 knots wearing a mask of sorts to keep me and my instructor safe, you can certainly wear a bandanna or mask while walking around the Walmart.

For the love of god, too many people are not being smart.

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.

Quiet.

There are a few comedy clubs and other venues in the neighborhood. This is the first time I’ve seen this marquee completely empty. The streets are somewhat quiet. Restaurants are getting ready to go into pick-up/delivery only mode. The numerous pubs are getting ready to close up shop for two weeks.

It’s such an odd time.

So Bright.

The city has finished installing new “smart lights” on the streets in our neighborhood. According to literature they passed out earlier this year, the new LED lighting saves a bunch of energy, are smart enough to report when the bulb is at end of life, and will increase safety throughout the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, it seems no one near these new lights will get any sleep. Or, on the bright side, perhaps local merchants will have a run on selling “blackout” drapes and blinds.

The new street lights are very, very bright and the color of the light is very, very white. You can easily discern the notable “blue” light given off by these new bulbs.

I never thought I’d miss the old sodium lights and their orange hue, but now that all the streets have been converted to these very bright, white lights, I know my eyes are going to struggle when I go for walks in the dark, early mornings near the end of the year.

I think there’s a hurried mindset that “brighter is better”, without consideration as to the quality of the light or the type of light that is being emitted from these new LED bulbs. Science is proving these new lights, with a good quantity of the light coming from the blue-end of the color spectrum, are leading to sleep and associated health issues.

There’s a reason computer manufacturers are now changing the color temperature of your monitor as you get closer and closer to nightfall.

I’m going to do some reading up on the public reception of these new smart lights to see if I’m a one off in my reaction or if there’s a lot of folks that find these new lights to be very harsh.

Smart or not, they’re very, very bright. Wow.

Walk.

I really love the fact that it’s a short train ride to the downtown area of the third largest city in the United States. Downtown Chicago has so much to offer, and I really cherish the opportunity to walk the area on a school night.

I love watching the business people leaving their offices. I enjoy the tourists as they navigate the city via map or map app, occasionally confused about things like “Upper Wacker” and “Lower Wacker”. I smile when I see out of town folks enjoy our city for a business meeting or a convention or a family vacation.

It’s nifty living in a city that people want to visit. I grew up in a small tourist village along the shores of Lake Ontario, but spent 25 years in a city that not many people visited. There’s only so many times you can visit a replica of the Liberty Bell or see an overgrown watering can.

Chicago has so much to offer and I find it a wonderful place to live. Many years ago Dublin, Ireland tugged at my heart strings as the definite place for us to live.

I’m happy to say Chicago tugs my heart strings the exact same way. I’m proud to be a resident of The Windy City.

New Experiences.

I convinced Earl to take the Blue Line into the Loop so we could take our usual Red and Brown Lines home. This was his first time standing on the platform in the middle of the Kennedy. It’s not quiet.

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Snapshots.

I find living in the third largest city of the United States to be inspiring. I love taking little snapshots of where we are.

Decision.

Chicago elected Lori Lightfoot as our next mayor. Mayor-Elect Lightfoot is the first African-American woman elected as mayor for The Second City. She just also happens to be the first openly gay person to serve as mayor for a major city in the United States.

This is what forward motion looks like. I’m hoping Chicago sets an example for the rest of the country.

Exploring.

I’ve renewed my interest in taking photos while I’m out exploring the city, heck, when I’m out exploring life. I could go into a spiel how about easy this is to do with my iDevices, but my gentle readers already know how much of an Apple fanboy I am at heart, even when the company does things that confuses me. That’s a separate blog entry.

I found the modification to this stop sign to be interesting. It’s the first time I’ve seen an attempt to replicate the color and lettering of a stop sign for this particular social awareness application. I’m sure this exists all over the world; it’s the first time I’ve seen such a thing.

My little journey around the city is taking me to places I’ve only seen from afar. After exploring The Loop, I hopped on the Blue Line toward O’Hare and jumped off at the Irving Park stop, which is about 25 blocks from where we live. For those that don’t know how the Chicago street grid works, that’s just over three miles from our condo, though I traveled nearly seven miles to get here, since the L resembles a hub-and-spoke system.

The vibe in this part of the city is a little bit less frenetic than what I encounter around the Loop, or even when compared to our neighborhood of Northcenter. Even though I know there’s plenty of city to the west of us, it always feels like I’ve crossed into the suburbs when I get west of the Kennedy Expressway in this part of town. There’s more car dealers and shopping plaza type property out here. There’s nothing wrong with that.

This is where the Blue Line was built into the median of the Kennedy. This makes for interesting geometry in the design of the stations. I found this stairwell particularly narrow.

Apparently it fills up with water when it rains. And the roar of the expressway when you’re waiting for the train does not lend itself to a meditative experience.

There’s so much to explore out here and with my husband working for the Cubs this baseball season, I feel like I’m going to have time to do more of it than I did last year.

I’m looking forward to the experience.