Love In The Time of Coronavirus

It had to happen. Everyone else is talking about COVID-19, as the novel coronavirus has been designated. So I might as well join the crowd.

First, I’m writing because this slate has been blank for a while, and it needed updating. Second, because I went on vacation, which meant that I was supposed to self-quarantine upon my return. Which is what I’ve been doing. For the most part.

So, to rewind a bit…

Every first Saturday in March is the annual Salvador Dalí Museum dinner. I’ve written about it before, so no point in re-hashing that part. Since I was making the trip, I booked a Caribbean cruise to extend my vacation time, and thus, off I sailed. Two of the ports of call I’d visited before, so I had no desire to go on any excursions there. Two others were new to me: Mahogany Bay (Roatán) and Belize. I booked a visit to the Mayan ruins in Xunantunich in Belize.

Belize is the former British Honduras, and as such the official language is English. Given that all of the neighboring countries are Spanish-speaking, the majority of Belizeans speak Spanish. The signs are all in English, however. The ruins at Xunantunich (the “X” is pronounced “SH”) are spectacular! I was glad I made the trip. Getting there meant driving the full width of the country (about 68 miles!), since the ruins are near the Guatemalan border.

Xunantunich Pyramid

Two days out from Tampa I learned that due to the spread of the Coronavirus (I still don’t know if it’s supposed to be capitalized or not), the major cruise lines had suspended operations for 30-60 days. I had no doubt I was going to be allowed to disembark, and as I did, it was strange to note there were no passengers waiting to come on board for the next sailing!

The flight home — on a full flight! — gave me no reason to think things had changed, but once I arrived home and went to the grocery store to re-provision, that’s when I noticed the empty shelves! Since I’d been overseas, the CDC recommendation was to self-quarantine for 14 days. I had no problem with that, because I had planned to spend the next two weeks at home conducting online training, so it was a nice synchronicity.

Here I sit, on the eve of my fourteenth day. I have taken the opportunity of being home to spend more time playing guitar and adding songs to my repertoire. While on the cruise (I took my KLŌS travel guitar), I started going back to my “roots” and learning or re-learning songs from one of my favorite bands of the 1960s: Love.

Love was kind of a hipster band. They had only one minor Top 40 hit (which I believe made it to #37), they refused to tour, and their leader, Arthur Lee, was quite idiosyncratic. But I loved the music they made, and their third and final album, “Forever Changes” has been ranked as number 40 on Rolling Stone magazine’s The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Love – Forever Changes (1966)

Thus, there is rhyme to my reason. Or method to my madness, if you will. The title of this post is a play on “Love in the Time of Cholera,” a 1985 book by Nobel Prize-winning author, Gabriel García Márquez

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