Firstly, apologies to Gabriel García Márquez for riffing on the title of one of his novels. Love In The Time Of Cholera is well worth a read if you’re wondering what literature to tackle while self-isolating.
One happy effect of the crisis, for me at least, is that friends and strangers have been more friendly. I don’t mean face to face strangers, as people are observing the keep your distance restrictions, more correspondents met on Twitter, Facebook and various dating agencies.
I’ve been computer dating for twenty years, meeting a woman who became a wife and making several good friends. I look at the sites every day, not with a view to finding a soulmate, more browsing in the same way as I look at cars, motorcycles and property that I’ll never have. This activity may be what prompted half a dozen lonely hearts to contact me in the last month. That’s about the number of messages I normally receive in a year.
Solitary people are forced to face what they want from life – and, for the elderly, that includes a last chance at love. I politely declined these advances, as I’ve sold my heart and soul to writing – who is a haughty mistress!
There’s an increased warmth in messaging on Twitter and Facebook that is supportive. Friends I’ve been corresponding with for years are writing more frequently.
Displays of affection in the community, albeit at a distance, are forging bonds that will last beyond the crisis. It’s easier to spot who is a decent human being these days and who is a selfish rat, such as those who hoard supplies and those bosses who refuse to pay their staff or who fire them.
It reminds me of what my parents told me about how people pulled together in the Second World War.
In the UK, people have been applauding National Health Service staff:
Thousands of people have applied to join the 250,000 strong volunteer army that the government has appealed for. If that’s not loving, I don’t know what is.
What examples of love in the time of corona have you seen where you live?