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Pandemic Time Again

Last June, we shared some of their impressions of how everyday life in Middletown had shifted in the midst of pandemic.  Our opinion piece in the Muncie Star Press reported, among other things, that our diarists expressed a “growing unease about the future.”  As we wrote:

[P]andemic life has scrambled our sense of time. As one diarist puts it, “so much of most days of the last two months is the same.” Another feels like a “ghost…stuck in a house, wearing the same clothes day after day, roaming from room to room.” A third feels like he is merely “marking time, like a prisoner scratching off days…on a wall” until normality returns. 

We are neither back to normal nor locked down now.  Labor Day has come and gone and the coronavirus is still with us, maybe even spreading more widely than before. Masks are now commonly worn in many settings, a reminder of the challenges that still face us. At the same time, some semblance of pre-Covid activity has appeared. Schools are in session, at least some students have returned to Ball State, and restaurants are open if not quite full.

EDLM has scheduled a Diary Day this month in which we aim to gain a better sense of this state of limbo in which we find ourselves.  It takes place Thursday, September 24th.  We hope it will capture some of the ways in which ordinary, pre-Covid life has resumed, as well as the myriad ways in which the pandemic still hangs over us.  Perhaps we have recaptured the customary sense of the future that was on display before the coronavirus hit.  Maybe there are ways in which the rhythms of our lives have fundamentally changed. 

As we noted in the Star Press, EDLM is in a good position to capture trends of this sort because we’ve been documenting daily life for several years.  We have a baseline with which to compare the recent past and the present.  Our intent is to continue to document the transition to some kind of new normal in terms of ordinary, usually unacknowledged experiences.  If you have not contributed a diary in the past, please join us.  You can submit a written account of your day on the 24th but we also welcome audio or video diaries as well photographs and other forms of documentation.  You can sign up to contribute here or at