Waking up in a ghost town (29 March)

The busy streets mixed with perpetual foot traffic, mixed with the subtle smells of restaurants and coffee shops. This is the world I've come to know. This all came to a crashing halt seven days ago.

COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2, “coronavirus”) has greatly changed my microcosm. Gone are most of the people and traffic. With the exception of a few carryout restaurants, the smells of raw ingredients being metamorphosed into a delicacy have all but disappeared. Roaring engines of airplanes traversing the heavens became non existent. The distant sounds of tires on asphalt from the expressway are also gone. This is life in emptiness.

Perhaps I am being a wee bit dramatic. Going to sleep with virtually no human-created noise is almost unnerving. While many of us have grown accustomed to life surrounded by our noise pollution, we must remember that our species has been in this noiseless void before; and for a lot longer than these few weeks. We are living in uncertain times, with uncertain outcomes, and a lot of other unknowns.

A perspective from a time before now

I spoke to my bubbe (grandmother) about what life was like during the polio epidemic here in the United States. She was telling me that she remembers the beaches being cleared out, neighbourhoods clearing out when someone became infected, and parents being afraid.

While some measures were taken during the polio epidemic, she mentioned that the mass lock downs, statewide social distancing, and stay at home orders are all new to her.

“Perhaps the measures we are taking today would have slowed polio?”, I asked.

Her answer, “I only hope that what we're doing now will be effective”. Not really words of comfort, however, she isn't really known for that :). We both believe the measures are effective, however, only if people actually practice them.

We can get through this

I truly believe that we can get through this, however, we must do it together. We will see dark times ahead, but we must remember that there will also be glimmers of light. We need to work hard and not give up hope. I am brought back to the infamous Churchill quote:

This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Stay healthy out there, -Synfinner