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Collected Item: “Love and the Pandemic”

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Love and the Pandemic

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Tell us a story; share your experience. Describe what the object or story you've uploaded says about the pandemic, and/or why what you've submitted is important to you.

Trying to keep a relationship together-- let alone happy or healthy-- during this pandemic has been tough. I had to move out of my home and back in with my parents in March, and that meant my partner and I didn't get to see each other for almost six weeks, the longest we had ever been apart. We decided to move in together in May, even though we'd only been seriously dating for less than six months, and three of those months we had been separated due to COVID. Spending 24/7 with another human being, no matter how much you love that other human being, can also be an adventure, as toes are unavoidably stepped on. Still, most days I think we're doing pretty okay.

One of the things my partner and I are doing to maintain a sense of normalcy is modifying our old hobby of playing Pokemon GO. Before the pandemic, we used pick a restaurant on Mill for dinner and then catch Pokemon in the surrounding area after. You would think that Pokemon GO would be safe to play right now-- because you can play outdoors and also it's easy to play while maintaining social distancing-- but we've actually really struggled to find places to play where people are wearing masks and respecting social distancing protocols. Mill Avenue, for example, is a literal cesspool with packed bars and no face masks in sight. At Kiwanis Park a few weeks ago, I heard a woman loudly complaining about having to wear a mask. Everything feels dangerous because it seems like people don't care if others get sick.

Luckily, with some patience and persistence, we've found places to play that are both safe and allow us small moments of joy. Yesterday, we headed to ASU's campus, which has been mostly empty and requires face masks. We kept our masks on the whole time and saw less than five people. Normally, even picking up groceries from Fry's feels like a terrifying experience to me, and last night was probably the first time I've been out in this entire pandemic and not been paralyzed with fear the whole time. It was nice. Probably about as nice as things can be in a pandemic?

I included this video from the end of our Pokemon adventure as we went back to the car. I like the video because it bears the obvious signs of Summer (sweat, traces of sunscreen smudges on my glasses, tank tops), the obvious signs of the pandemic (face masks, empty campus), and the obvious signs of two people dating (smiles, jokes, joy).

Use one-word hashtags (separated by commas) to describe your story. For example: Where did it originate? How does this object make you feel? How does this object relate to the pandemic?

#dating #queer #LGBT #PokemonGo

Who originally created this object? (If you created this object, such as photo, then your name goes here.)

Carolyn Evans

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