Love in the Time of Corona, Part 14. “Matthew Takes a Shower”

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There’s a man showering on my iPhone in Los Angeles. I mean, there’s a man in Los Angeles showering on my iPhone. I mean, not in a way that would damage my iPhone. My iPhone is here and he’s there. Naked. Showering. Breathtaking. FaceTiming. Our entire relationship has happened on FaceTime. He looks like every Idaho Mormon farm boy I ever lusted after and this one’s mine. Didn’t take long for us to claim each other which is kind of scary but I’ll take it. Falling in love over FaceTime during a pandemic is interesting but in some ways very good. Gay men who are attracted to each other—wait, let me correct that. Men who are attracted to each other have a tendency—actually let’s just make that when men are attracted to another adult human tend to— awe, hell maybe just humans. Actually let’s do it right and drop the generalizations and say that this “situation” has given me and the man I’m falling in love with real time to get to know each other first. Matthew and I have been doing our Social Distancing in a way that should afford us extra points because as I write this and he showers we are standing one thousand, six hundred and sixty-nine miles apart. 
The point I started to make before was that since we first connected [through a dating app when I was on the tarmac about to take off and leave the city where he lives (Los Angeles) and fly back to New Orleans] we have been forced to get to know each other rather than just hopping in the sack like some do. Who knows how much of that old stereotypical bullshit is true but I do know this, what we build out of the rubble is absolutely one hundred percent up to us. Who knows, all humans might like to jump right in the sack with someone they found attractive if there were to social or religious proclivities that precluded it. I’m enjoying getting to know Matthew; (his shower is complete now and he’s blow-drying a beard that would garner the admiration of any pogonophile).
I want to meet him. I want to meet him in person. We’ve been making some big plans already and I want to get started on them. I want to call an Lyft and head toward Louis Armstrong Airport right this minute but guess what, I can’t. For now, for both our sakes, and to do our part for the safety of humanity (that ain’t hyperbole), we must love from afar. Thank God for technology.
This virus is a gift. I don’t celebrate any pain or death at all. That’s not what I mean. But if you look for it, there is a gift in it because this is a warning from our host planet. In a sort of macrocosmic way, this is our planet saying to us, learn to live in symbiosis or perish. This is a chance for us, collectively and individually, to figure out how to live better.
I keep hearing people talk about getting “back to normal.” Number one, things will never be back to normal and that is a very good thing. Normal wasn’t working for a whole lot of people and maybe this will provide an opportunity to look at all the ways things weren’t working and create something better out of the rubble. But here’s the thing; we need to talk about what that means and when they mean when they talk about “reopening” the country by which they mean get the working class back to work so the ruling class can get back to golfing. Fuck that. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it big time. I’m not going to reenter a system where the rich get richer and the poor get sick. I will be participating in the creation of a more egalitarian world. Why is it that every kind of calamity or disaster or viral pandemic always hits the poorest among us and let it be noted that because of racial (we might as well say racist) economic inequality in this world?
On a side note, it’s been super strange even to see the most vocal members of the “Socialism Is Bad” club step right in line when waiting for their government check. 
“When do you think the sequester will end?” To that I want to respond, “When do you think that the world’s top medical scientists will stop recommending physical distancing as the only real and consistently effective weapon against this virus?”
“Oh there will be an antibodies test soon,” said one friend. First off, all, I hope that’s true. I also don’t know if our bodies produce enough antibodies for one to consider themselves immune for subsequent infections after having only had it once? So little is known. Maybe we need to stop sweating when we can “get back to normal” and start thinking about what we want the new normal to look like.
I’m going to use whatever time is left in this sequester to my benefit. I am going to see it as bonus time to think about and plan for the life to come, whatever that might look like. My plan is to be with Matthew as soon as I can and for as long as I can. My plan is to enjoy the longing, enjoy the moment, and to enjoy life. We truly never know how much is left. 
This would probably be a great time to read more Rumi.


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