So far: 22 March 2020

photo by tim timothy roessler

We have 38 confirmed Covid-19 cases today in Boulder. That number makes the measures taken so far seem melodramatic and disproportionate. But, we have the tragic example of Italy to learn from.

Families crowd the parks. Moms, dads, and the kids march along, the parents a bit haggard, the children aimless and disorderly, veering off to bang sticks or chase geese. As you approach, the adults will belt out a hearty hello, but shy away to maintain the proper  distance.

Older couples stride with purpose. They’ve read the same articles I have about boosting the immune system with sunshine and fresh air, and they seem determined to charge every single cell with as much health as possible.

By contrast, the Pearl Street Mall is dead. On a weekend afternoon, it’s usually crowded with tourists, families, buskers, balloon blowers, green-haired millennials, and hipsters of every stripe. Now only a few people stroll along the bricks.

Without people in front of them, the buildings look unfamiliar. Without the weekend crowds, the homeless seem to have taken over the mall. It’s about one-to-one, homeless to housed.

Only a few businesses are open. A Mexican restaurant offers takeouts at the windows. So does a pizza place. A candy shop and a poster store still welcome customers. Every other store is shut with variations of the same notice taped to the door.

Two bars blast boomer-era rock over empty terraces. It makes things more melancholy than you’d think. Like an off season resort, barren but projecting cheerfulness.

All around, it’s oddly quiet. Traffic noise has dwindled to nearly nothing. As a friend said, it’s like the quiet of a snow day when everyone just stays home.

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