In the Mission District, a couple already engaged fix a spice rack as they shelter in place, and learn about each other, too.
Imagine walking down the street and all the fronts of all the buildings falling away. Imagine the living room stages revealed and the dramas unfolding.
All around the world, people are falling in love and loving and falling out of love just as they always have. Only now with the added complication of a pandemic. Maybe a week or so before the isolation order, Lauren Ruben 28, San Francisco had met a man on one of the usual apps. They dated some.
As social isolation set in, they met at a park one last time. She was committed to keeping space, though.
And anyway, he had plans to leave the city and pass the pandemic in a cabin in Sonoma County. From that distance he wrote her daily. This kept on for a while, and after many days Ruben drove to the cabin, just for a couple hours, just for dinner. Last week she called it off.
But even if that story is ending, others continue. John Dellaporta, a year-old actor in Los Angeles, is still talking with an online date who, almost as soon as they connected, moved back east to be with family.
Others find comfort not in something new but in nostalgia. Nairi Azaryan 25, San Francisco has been thinking a lot about an ex lately, about a trip they made to the desert. There are no expectations, she says, except maybe comfort. The pandemic and all its uncertainty have made distance a thing you can now measure in time — everybody who is not together is far away from one another, whether a few miles away or several states away.
But his lungs carry scars from a injury.
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It was hard enough, him living all those miles away, but at least, before this pandemic, they had a date to look forward to. So they do what they usually do, talking through screens and over the phone, texting just to keep up, only without much hope for any time together soon. Just as far away from one another, but in the same house, are Martha Cecilia Ovadia, 35, and her husband, down in Homestead, Fla. They talk down hallways to each other and watch the same show, bedrooms away.
In the morning Ovadia writes letters to him, on new paper that looks like old paper. The notes are melodramatic and funny.
She seals them with wax. But there are worse things even still. Another friend they know has moved into an apartment on his own, away from his family.
Love shifts to fit the moment — proximity and touch drives a lot of what we do now. Three people, in a polyamorous relationship, downsized from two homes to one. But no. They ended it.
Times like these serve to test and to clarify. All those people talking online will eventually have to meet in person. The shotgun move-ins, done under all this pressure, will offer a nice proof of concept.
In retrospect, Bea White 34, Tenderloin maybe could have been a little clearer with her boyfriend that the relationship had run its course.
Making it work long-distance
But she did and the pressure grew. And so the text.
Ryan Kost is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. : rkost sfchronicle.
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