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'We Americans Are Resilient, Creative And Strong People:' Finding Optimism In Quarantine

A smiling man holding a bike aloft
Rob of Sarasota
Like most, Rob has settled into a routine during his time spent at home. His involves lots of walks and bike riding.

From job loss, to balancing work from home to the isolation of following stay-at-home orders, coronavirus has changed our everyday lives. WUSF is giving you a voice to share those experiences.

Today, we meet Rob from Sarasota County. He's asked that we not use his last name. Rob was furloughed from his job last month. Before the pandemic, he had an active schedule filled with community events and volunteering.

In his own words, Rob shares some thoughts on the mundane "new normal" routines of staying at home, and his hopes for how his community responds to the country's re-opening.

"I was furloughed indefinitely with my benefits. I've applied for unemployment. Now my days start with a half hour walk with my wife, then breakfast. Then she goes to work upstairs in our office. All our choir rehearsals and performances have been canceled. Our church services are now online and we have cut back on going out to eat. The skating rink that I play hockey at on Sunday nights has closed. My only constant is riding my bike. We go grocery shopping every two weeks instead of once a week and we wear masks and gloves when we go out in public.

"What I miss the most about not working is the social interaction I have with my coworkers and customers. Because I drive for a living, I miss being out on the road, even when the traffic is bad. I also miss my weekly choir rehearsals and my church family.

"What I am most worried about is the fact that I could lose my job when this crisis is over. Even though my company says I still have a job, it is not guaranteed. My other worry is that the stay-at-home order is lifted too soon. This pandemic is a matter of life and death.

"To me, life and family is more important than money. However, it's easy for me to say because we are fairly well off. There are a lot of people struggling for basic necessities and we are trying to do as much as we can to help the less fortunate by supporting local businesses and donating money, food and clothing to local charities.

"Because this situation is unprecedented and uncertain, we need to exercise caution, come together as a community and put our politics aside. I am an optimist, so I know as a state and country we will get through this eventually. We Americans are resilient, creative and strong people. We will weather this storm and hopefully come out as better human beings."

This story is produced in partnership with America Amplified, an initiative using community engagement to inform local journalism. It is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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