Jessica sat at an outdoor table waiting for Troy. They had been talking online for a while and decided to finally meet. Things had been different since the COVID-19 outbreak. She was social distancing and following all the guidelines. This was an exciting time for Jessica because she hadn’t dated since her break-up with Vince.
As time passed she noticed people coming and going for curbside pick-up, and several delivery services picking up their orders to take it all to hungry folks stuck at home. But no sign of Troy.
Something she also noticed was that the people sitting in the outside dining area were all alone. Each table had a man or woman sitting at it looking somewhat perplexed and anxious.
Feeling a bit depressed, she realized she was one of them. Being stood up never felt good, but she thought this time would be different. He seemed nice, looked handsome, had a steady job, wasn’t asking for nude selfies and basically sounded like he was kind of in the same spot in his life that she was.
She looked around, just wanting to see his face. Then it hit her.
Everyone was wearing a mask so how would you recognize someone you were meeting for the first time? All you know is a face from a camera and now they were covered with a white medical or cloth home-made mask. Some were pretty cool and had character faces, others shone with tie-dyed rainbows, or patterns, one guy even had a Cookie Monster one.
This, thought Jessica, is dating in the Age of Corona.
Yes, our world has been turned upside down. What was normal has now changed and nobody’s sure of what “normal” is any more.
The whole situation has certainly changed some fundamentals for writers and readers - especially those who write contemporary stories - who are now faced with a not-so-simple question. When writing a story, how are you going to include the “New Normal” in your plot? When you’re looking for your latest read, will you expect – or want – to see all these strange changes be a part of the story? Think about it..

Read the entire article in the June 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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