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The World Turned Upside Down

by | Aug 3, 2020 | Family Law

Six months. We’ve lived in this alternate universe now for six months. And what’s more, there is no end in sight. Some big companies are telling their employees to plan to work remotely through the summer of 2021. Of course, that’s still a whole year away.

As some schools re-open for in person education, Georgia’s largest school system wound up with 260 of its educators succumbing to Covid-19 after a one-day, in person event. A YMCA camp in North Georgia re-opened only to have half of its campers and counselors come down with Covid-19. Looks like kids can get the virus, too.

Courts are all over the place on responding to this bizarre turn of events. Some, still thinking they are supermen, are trying to hold in-person hearings. Most others are exploring the strange new world of video hearings and are temporarily caught in the perfunctory act of holding a hearing and not the more purposeful act of actually judging. Still other courts continue to throw in the towel, not sure how to move forward at all, as though the public’s business will just have to wait.

Through it all, families are just trying to get by, day by day. Living in what sometimes seems like a dystopian nightmare, spouses make do with the resources they have to provide necessities and some sense of normalcy to their children. Families are just trying to survive, day by day.

This isn’t over. And it won’t be over for a long, long time.

Pre-Covid, we always moved on with our lives. School started, baseball played on, families went out, went on vacation, did what they wanted. Couples came together and came apart, all without the limitations of a world turned upside down. Now, families are far more locked in with each other, able to go out and about a bit, with masks on, of course, but not out and about and away from each other for extended periods of time, like a five day work week or an all women’s retreat.

There is far less opportunity to vent the steam on a simmering pot. The lid is shut down, tight, like a pressure cooker but with no valve. We all know how that ends. None of us wants to think much about it.

What’s a family that is not particularly keen on spending every waking minute with each other to do when they can’t get away from each other?

What’s a family to do when they don’t get out and into a public routine such as school, work or church, so there is no set of friends or regular acquaintances who observe, who provide feedback, who report out abuses that they think they see.

For some families, abuse is far more easily contained within the four walls of a home. There is time for her eye to heal. There’s time for that gash across his arm to seal up. But the pressure cooker just keeps on.

For some families, the painful isolation from public routine leads to succumbing to an addiction. No one is aware of what you are wearing everyday, whether you are getting yourself together at any point during the day or even whether you make sense during much of the day. Still that pressure cooker just keeps on.

When the pressure cooker blows, it can kill.

And there is no end in sight. There is no valve release in the immediate or even not-too-distant future.

If you are locked in a pressure cooker right now, break out. Get out quickly, running screaming into the street. Bring attention to yourself. Get attention for yourself. Just escape and get help in sorting out the pieces afterward. You can’t rebuild your life while you are trapped. You can rebuild your life once you make your get away.

Get out now. You can’t wait until the valve is released, the heat is turned off and this thing blows over because that might not happen for a long, long time.

-Michael Manely