I texted with my son’s mother in law yesterday (is there a name for what she and I are to each other? If there’s a cute name, I don’t know what it is, so enlighten me!) I am fortunate that we get along well and I can just call her “friend”. During the pandemic, we have not seen each other, although we have checked in with each other a couple of times.

During this trying time, she has lost her dad and her husband’s business has had to adjust and adapt. I am sure it has been a difficult few months for her.

It made me start thinking about all of the people I know that I have had almost no real contact with during the first half of 2020. I started the year engrossed in directing a play and then two weeks after we closed, the whole country closed. With no theatre and no church, I have not had contact with many people.

During this time I have seen friends lose family members, get married, move, have surgery, adopt and so much more. People have lost businesses, jobs, and lots of time. Some have found new interests or taken up old interests after years away.

Life is different and we have mostly handled what we have been asked to do, although I have heard lots of complaining! Most of the information I get about my friends is through social media. I text, message, email and call, but it isn’t the same as face to face exchanges.

Tim and I talked about how touchy people seem to be. We see videos of people throwing produce or shopping baskets at employees in stores who are just trying to do their job. We see people online who lash out at others with differing views. On the news there are often people who pull guns out at each other because their behavior isn’t what the other person can tolerate. The police are called because someone doesn’t look the way someone else can accept.

Our discussion came down to how people are changing in all of this chaos. I say that people who are acting out had issues before, they are just heightened now. I don’t care what happens, I will not be carrying a gun, nor will I be throwing anything at anyone! (Tim might beg to differ on the throwing things, but what happens at home, stays at home!!) I don’t see my whole demeanor and morals changing no matter how bad things get.

How have you changed during the first half of 2020? What have you lost? What have you gained? What are you doing differently? Do you think your personality is different than it was last year? Are you more wary of others? Are you more uncomfortable going out?

I told Tim that I have always had a bit of trepidation heading out into the world. I think I have said here several times that I plan and think through what the next day holds and lots of the things I used to do made me pause for just a moment. I like predictability and have always tried to anticipate what I am going to do each day.

Nowadays I don’t go out much. I put gas in my car yesterday for the first time since mid-February! I am careful about where I go and my anxiety before I go anywhere is definitely higher than before. It is only partly because of the pandemic and more because people are acting crazy and I am not sure what to expect. It really isn’t fear, it is more confusion. I am trying to not let that change me, but I can’t help but think that it is.

So many life events, so many life changes, so many missed hugs and lost conversations. So many shows not done and trips not taken. It all has to be changing us in ways we don’t really know.

I can only hope that most of the changes will turn out to be for the good and if not for the good, at least not detrimental. But I do worry.

Me? Worry? Well, some things never change!

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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.