My daughter’s friend Devin arrived for a day visit Tuesday. He drove from his home in an Illinois state college town. Yes, we have a local stay at home order here in South Bend, and Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered a shelter-in-place on Friday. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered a similar shelter-in-place beginning at the end of the day Tuesday, after Devin left.
This visit is not a decision I would have made, but Anna is an adult, Devin is an adult, and that’s the decision they made.
The two of them walked a bit on the Notre Dame campus. Their site-seeing consisted of driving to see Anna’s high school and grade school. All meals were either drive-through or carry-out.
At the end of the day, Devin allowed me to interview him about the current state of affairs and its impact on his life.
“For the most part, I’m naturally a loner,” said the guy who drove 160 miles to see my daughter. Typically, his social life centers around twice-a-week meetups with about fifteen other gamers at a local game store.
The owner of the store had shut down before the shelter-in-place mandate, and in the past week the gamers were meeting in groups of five in each other’s houses, limited now by the size of the room. Devin isn’t sure whether that will continue now.
A school bus driver, he has not transported students since the schools closed on March 13. His employer is contracted by the school district, so he is not considered a school employee.
Now his district is hiring bus drivers to transport food from the high school to local schools to provide free school lunches to the children who rely on them. “I’ve basically become a glorified truck driver,” he says.
About 100 drivers are rotating through this offer to work. “I expect I’ll work about three or four days over a two-week pay period.” His shift is about four hours each day.
He also filed for unemployment a week ago. Given the number of people filing, he isn’t sure when or even whether that will go through.
“My plans are to sit tight, go grocery shopping when I need to, talk to my friends online and play video games. That will get me some social interaction for the next couple of weeks.”
His county, at the time of his visit, had one reported case of COVID-19. Our county, by contrast, had a dozen confirmed diagnoses. Two already socially-limited individuals met up for a friendly mental health visit. He did not stop anywhere along the way. What are our chances that we all remain healthy?