MEEKER | As you can probably guess, living through a pandemic in the heart of New York City is a lot different than rural and spacious Meeker, Colorado. For me, the two places have contrasted almost completely in my day to day experiences; however, I have noticed a surprising amount of similarity that I most likely would not have considered.
I visited Meeker in July of last year while the virus was in full swing and was surprised by the amount of freedom in town. Coming from a severe lockdown, I was shocked to find the restaurants completely open and stores bringing in waves of customers. To me, this was a pretty stark contrast from the city. You could not walk around for two hours and find a restaurant allowing in customers or a store which gave the option of a mask. While I do think both places contrast, I can understand widespread laxness due to Meeker’s spaciousness.
A factor that I think influenced the biggest difference between here and in Manhattan, school. New York City schools were completely closed from mid-March to October 2020; a safety precaution that allowed people to distance from each other and help reach herd immunity. However, with this came strict guideline sthat prevented me from going to school and worse, seeing my friends.
From talking to and interviewing people, I understood that going to people’s houses or seeing friends during the pandemic was not such a rarity. But to say everything in Meeker was open and differed completely from NYC would be a fallacy. In fact from what I’ve noticed, a lot is similar. For one, every event normally scheduled for the end of the year was cancelled including prom. Not only did the seniors miss their special events, but also the once in a lifetime experience of graduating surrounded by family and friends. A deplorable fate also shared by the Class of 2020 here in town. The cancellation of such events, while unfortunate, didn’t really impact me. The worst part of my experience that I think parallelled many here was managing school work while most of my teachers were under the impression I had “tons of free time.” A broad oversimplification, but one that boiled down to me getting work or having certain deadlines which asked too much. In fairness I did have a decent amount of free time, but staring at a screen all day by myself and staying in my room for seven days straight really exhausted me and my energy.
I think this best describes my time in quarantine: different from Meeker, but comparable in principle. A time of great unusuality, struggle and most importantly perseverance.
Special to The Herald Times