18 Hours In

by Connor Ciecko

Illinois has been under a shelter-in-place order since 5 P.M. Saturday, and while things haven’t physically changed – people are still social distancing and buying obscene amounts of toilet paper, of all things – there is a certain emotional tenseness that has fallen over everything just like the snow that gently started falling this afternoon.  It doesn’t have to be said that there is uncertainty around everything that’s happening, but how people are reacting to that uncertainty is something that should be examined.  While I was out today (making sure to maintain a minimum of six feet between me and the few people I crossed paths with), I saw people living the circumstances to the fullest.  Fathers and their children were playing knockout in their driveway; mothers, dogs, and babies on walks; kids running around and riding their bikes in the park.  Just because things are different for the time being, that doesn’t mean we have to live in fear, and all these people are demonstrating the new normal.

                One of my neighbors recently came back from a trip abroad to Europe, and this morning we found out that they’ve been in bed for the last few days, unable to participate in the day-to-day.  They have COVID-19.  Up until now, this virus was something distant to me.  I hadn’t known anyone who was affected by it nor was I close enough to it to really comprehend the full magnitude.  I’ve lived within a hundred feet of them since I was four years old, and this brings even more of that uncertainty even closer to home.

                With everything changing so quickly, it’s hard to say what the state of things will be a week from now – or even a day from now, for that matter.  I’ll continue to provide updates about what things are happening around here and I’ve got some content in the pipeline to bring some smiles in these troubled times.  Stay safe, stay healthy, and have a good morning, Illini.