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What will the pandemic do to our sense of boundaries? With some paths closed, our futures look more like home

By Amy S. Rosenberg, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Health & Fitness

PHILADELPHIA - For Joanne Edelstein of Philadelphia, no destination was too far or too complicated to consider, nothing out of reach to plan a trip, take her grandchildren. Lots of itineraries on the horizon.

But during these coronavirus days, Edelstein's own front steps can feel risky. A walk through her neighborhood involves zigzagging away from people.

Yet that zigzagging has brought her to streets she would not otherwise have walked down. And her family has discovered more simpler joys like fishing at the Jersey Shore.

Boundaries are everywhere now, a sobering change for farsighted adventurers like Edelstein, or for Cherry Hill native Galit Schwarz, a world traveler who ditched New York City this spring and moved full time to her house at the Jersey Shore, where she's throwing her energy into extremely local pleasures, like shucking oysters at Maxwell's, in Port Republic, Atlantic County.

But what do our lives look like under the microscope? And where will that take us? And who loses in a global reshuffling?

Writer, activist, and futurist comedian Baratunde Thurston has been talking a lot about a 5-year-old girl in his Los Angeles neighborhood who noticed his new turquoise-and-orange Under Armour cross-trainers and called out to him on one of the walks he's been taking since being essentially grounded by the coronavirus crisis.

 

"Baratunde, do you have new shoes?"

It struck him as profound, this small moment of civic decency, that "little neighbor girl was paying attention."

Thurston, host of the new How to Citizen podcast and a recent cohost of the Pivot podcast, spoke of her "in the spirit of getting to know the place where you live because what else are you going to do when you can't go anywhere else?"

"I think there are a lot of us feeling invisible right now without a proper response to a global pandemic," Thurston said in a phone interview.

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