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Love in the Time of Cholera is a novel by Colombian Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez. The novel was first published in Spanish in 1985. An English-language movie adaptation was released in 2007.
When I reference this Oprah Book Club selection and classic, many are unfamiliar with it, yet it is a bittersweet tale about disease, death, and the enduring power of love. Marquez describes the painful casualties of war sustained in a fight against an invisible enemy.
There are so many casualties in the time of COVID-19, it is hard to list them. While some have died, all have lost their freedom. While many have been diagnosed, most were asymptomatic or have recovered. While regional differences should be acknowledged, all businesses in our state are victims of the shelter-in-place restrictions, and many small and large businesses are perishing.
The casualties take other forms. I am a purist when it comes to words, sentences and truth telling. To state that COVID-19 is responsible for the highest unemployment rates we have seen since the Great Depression is false. While the latter is true, the virus only looks for hosts and kills the most vulnerable, and the draconian measures the federal and state governments have imposed led to the astronomical unemployment numbers. Not splitting hairs; just want integrity in telling the story in the time of COVID-19.
Are we “quarantined,” in “self-confinement,” “binary-confinement” or any multiplier to complete this sentence? Are we “safer at home” or “staying home, saving lives”? Are we “sheltering in place” or “self-isolating”?
As the days pass, the notion of “self-isolating” is less a reality than the certainty that, whatever term you choose, this is not about choice.
While the media in its frenzy has absolutely bastardized these terms, there are differences. Some are medical terms. Some come from the film Contagion. Others are slogans, and some approach propaganda.
Unlike isolation, quarantine involves separating and restricting the movements of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. The government may impose a quarantine on someone who was exposed to COVID-19 to avoid spread of the disease. Most of us don’t know if we were exposed, but we do know what is expected of us now.
In Love in the Time of Cholera, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza reunite after more than 50 years. It is a happy ending after the devastation caused by the invisible virus. I won’t know what happens 50 years from now. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. We do know fundamentally this has changed the very fiber of the American way—not for 50 years, but forever.
Dale is a consultant and trainer who travels often but is happiest at home in her art studio and with her husband, their dog and tabby cat. Her husband operates a business in town and is a commissioner and influencer