Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

I’ve been practicing law in the City of Chicago since I graduated from law school in 1985 (almost 35 years now). Today I experienced the City in a completely new way.

I had been hunkered down in my house with my wife since Friday night. That night I got word from my office building in Chicago that a tenant on our floor had tested positive for Coronavirus.  The building closed our floor for the weekend and did a deep clean of the floor. My firm decided to close the office for Monday and Tuesday just to be safe. But as things developed, they decided to close our office until at least the end of next week. While that was fine in general, I had a pile of executed documents for a bond issue sitting in my office, and the only way I could scan them and circulate them to the working group was to go into the office. So this morning I ventured into the City.

My first clue that things would be different was my commuter train ride. When I walked into the train station, there was the \ticket agent, the coffee guy and maybe three other people. On the platform, I counted only 12 people boarding across the entire length of the train. I sat in a car with only one other person on the main level. I have never seen anything like this on a rush hour train in all my decades of commuting.

In the City when I emerged from the train station it was like some kind of a hellscape. Very, very few people and cars. Walking to my office I didn’t come within 30 yards of another human being. I was able to just walk across the street on a red light. Completely unprecedented.

My office building was open but eerily quiet. I think I saw a total of two people in the lobby. The only other person I saw on my floor was my assistant. The fitness center, tenant lounge, conference center, shop for snacks and restaurant were all closed. Luckily the building recently installed one of those Farmer’s Fridge things so people wouldn’t starve.

We accomplished our essential work and went home. My train arrived at my stop six minutes early, because it normally takes longer to let everyone off.

Honestly, all I could think of is that it felt like I was on Mars. The only more surreal experience I’ve had in the City was the morning of 9/11. It’s going yo be a brave new world for awhile.



  1. I had many of the same thoughts. I would probably pick the day *after* 9/11 in Chicago as the closest comparable in my experience. But that comes to much the same thing.

  2. Not just for a while.

    Life has changed. You don’t put the genie back in the bottle.

  3. NanaCarol says:

    I’m in the boomer generation with diabetes and pulmonary problems from several bouts of pneumonia over the past 25 years. I’m self isolating and following all the CDC guidelines. My children and grandchildren all live nearby. They had Spring break last week and traveled both out of state and country. Coming home they were screened at airports and told to self isolate for 14 days. I haven’t seen them for 2 weeks now and I miss them all. But I keep hearing about others visiting them, and their going to the grocery store and having presidency meetings, etc. If I say anything about it (and I speak with concern in a mild and calm tone) they get all defensive and say no one they know is doing all the recommended stuff. I point out that every time they’re around others they all run the risk of infection, which lengthens my isolation from them, but which they think is no big deal. One friend even said she doesn’t care if she gets sick so she and others came to my daughter’s house instead of doing a livestream meeting. Supposedly our Bishop approved of them meeting. What’s up with that? I feel lonely and depressed that I’m not going to see my family for who knows how long. We FaceTime but they seem distracted throughout. I don’t like this horrible situation at all. If all of us don’t use time off work and out of school to stay home and away from others how will we get on top of this virus? And who will pay dearly for the cavalier attitude of the younger, safer generations? —grandparents and great-grands. We hate being cooped up too….We live for our families and those hugs and fun times together….

  4. NanaCarol, I’m sorry to hear about your situation and the way your younger family is reacting to all of this. My experience has been the opposite. Myself and other young people I know are taking this very seriously and following social distancing guidelines, while some (not all) of the older people I know are saying the country is overreacting and that we should go about life like normal. Maybe they’re listening to our president too much and that’s why they have that attitude, just a guess. I suppose there are people in every generation who just don’t get it. Stay safe and I hope you don’t get too lonely.

  5. I’ve been on that morning train too from the same station years ago. Exiting the train at Union Station is like cattle in a chute in normal times. I often thought I heard mooing.

  6. I drove down the Las Vegas strip tonight. Some hotels left their lights on but many were dark. Quite a few cars were on the strip but not a single pedestrian. So strange to not see crowds of people wandering. Never seen anything like it. Breaks my hard to think of the tens of thousands of casino and hotel workers without work.

  7. Imagine a better strategy than this… Order people to isolate in-place within the newly installed 5G grid that is cooking them slowly. Causing symptoms that appear as a virus when they are not a normal virus at all.

    So here’s my new release to encourage everybody to stay strong, be smart not stupid. Get out of any microwave radiation “kill” zones.

    Peace, comfort, goodwill and better than that to all…

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