How your neighbors are coping – and the challenges they face

Clearly, the coronavirus is testing everyone’s patience and resolve.

Some of your neighbors – whether they live on the Northside are elsewhere in Metro Atlanta – are finding solace through their relationships with family and friends. Others are doing their very best to cope with the pressures of it all.

Today, we wanted to share some of their stories.

On several levels, it’s hard to fathom this whole Coronavirus/COVID-19 thing. It’s frankly very “Twilight Zone-ish” – the not knowing how long we all may be subject to social distancing (was that even a thing two months ago?) and self-isolation.

I awake each day thinking of things to do: some client work to address a recent request, or for real excitement, emptying the dishwasher and folding just-washed clothes.

While walking in my neighborhood or doing household chores each morning, I listen for two hours to NPR to hear the latest news, for some weeks now almost exclusively virus-related. Later, I read the AJC and check websites for statistics: Infection and death rates are still increasing at a frightening pace.

Once saturated with information, I turn to my stack of books. I’m loving both Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” and Julie Orringer’s “The Flight Portfolio.” I own the former, a gift from my daughter; the latter I got from the library before they all closed. “Portfolio” is already overdue, but I assume we’re all on a reprieve from fines, one small benefit from this otherwise massive monetary and medical morass the entire world faces.

As my friends and family know, I’m a huge movie buff and think nothing of running out to a film on a moment’s notice, with or without friend or husband, once, twice or even three times a week, depending on what’s playing.

On March 12, I was the only one in a room at Hollywood 24, seeing Ben Affleck in “The Way Back”; then, on March 15, with about six others sufficiently socially distanced, I saw “Hope Gap” at the Tara, starring the ever-superb Annette Bening. Within a day or two, the last holdout, the Plaza Theater here in Atlanta, closed.

So, obviously and understandably movies in theaters are no longer an option, which is contributing to my overblown feeling of ennui – that I am stuck, subject to the randomness of something I can neither see nor predict, about which no one, in fact, can easily prognosticate.

It’s simultaneously infuriating and alarming, and I worry that it’s perhaps undermining our collective sanity, not just mine. Cancelling an elective knee replacement surgery planned six months ago for March 17 was dispiriting but seemed the right choice, not because I feared being in the hospital, instead because I was anxious about recovering while subject to unknown effects of this virus situation.

When will this end? When can we stop worrying about finding the food and household items we need? I could make necessary adjustments if I knew it would be for five days, two weeks, a month, some defined time period for which I could mentally and emotionally prepare.

But with no estimated end date, I’m in Rod Serling-land, and feel much like Truman Burbank, Jim Carrey’s character in “The Truman Show” (inspired by the “Special Service” episode of “The Twilight Zone”) restricted by an artificial wall, unable to re-enter reality. Will we – will I – ever emerge from this intact, and able to resume life-before-Covid?

Most of us will, but the impact on many, especially those who’ve lost or will lose a loved one, will be life-altering.

So, I do what needs to be done: cook, clean, read, work, talk with friends and family, walk and exercise, even watch some TV series that I’d never seen. I keep putting one foot ahead of the other, ever thankful that medical personnel, service and government employees and so many others have stepped up to take care of the rest of us.

They are heroes.

This story was written by Judy Bozarth, a community contributor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bozarth describes herself as an over-65 freelance writer and copy editor who has lived in Buckhead since 1977. Originally from New York City, Bozarth is married with two grown children who went to Atlanta Public Schools. She is a huge film fan, and for 12 years she has worked for and volunteered with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

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