Coronavirus. Here is the word that we have been hearing everywhere for weeks and that drives us crazy. A word so insignificant two months ago and which today affects our lives in a radical and unpredictable way, destroying our social interactions with disconcerting ease.
Many countries, like the one from which I am writing this article, are currently undergoing a strict quarantine and a policy of social distancing on a large scale which greatly affect our social habits. While some of us have been able to confine ourselves with their family, friends or spouse, others are left alone in a small flat that quickly become oppressive or big houses that feel very empty. Whether we are alone or accompanied in this ordeal, the maintenance of our friendly, family and romantic relationships has become more and more difficult.
It is, indeed, no longer possible to be influenced by our friend little concerned with studies and who would make us drink on a school night to “socialize and have fun”. Now the fun comes down to logging into Houseparty, a cup of tea in the hand (because drinking whisky alone would feel very alcoholic), hoping that our connection does not drop just when our crush or best friend connects. But although those various social communication tools seem to have saved some resemblance to social life, can we still fully maintain an active one? If so, does social distancing and forced social proximity still have a strong impact on our behaviours?
The question of whether we have maintained an active social life is difficult to answer as our places of socialization are no longer accessible to us. In a period when the time to develop relationships is increased tenfold, the circumstances seem to chain us to a forced loneliness or to a company which quickly becomes difficult to bear with no prospect of escape.
At the time of writing, I am currently locked in a house with good friends of mine and I therefore socialize every hour of the day and yet, after the second week of confinement, I suddenly started to consider murder as a crime much more understandable than I use to before.
In a space where everyone’s privacy and personal life mingle with that of others, it becomes harder and harder to maintain good social behaviour and is increasingly easier to indulge in irrelevant arguments. Thus, I could not determine if the quarantine strengthened or tainted my relationships with those who share my misfortune.
As for my relations with people who are not within my reach, my opinion is much sharper.
Quarantine transformed my 5-star relationships and social moments into poor motorway motels where even motorists are reluctant to stop. It has become impossible to share convivial moments around a meal, to dance next to moving bodies and to kiss the one that makes my heart beat.
The impression of losing precious moments with those I love crushes me every morning when I get up and every night when I fall asleep. The sorrow gradually settles and takes root in my environment despite all my positivity efforts.
Yet in these difficult times, human relationships have not only been disrupted in a bad way. Everywhere the feeling of solidarity is reinforced and rises like a big balloon that we all inflate with our breath and our hopes. Patriotism increases in everyone’s heart and the will to defeat a common enemy unites us all and strengthens our social relationship with the whole world.
Our salvation lies in our ability to act as one and only our capacity to build a universal relationship will get us out of this war.