“Phone calls with strangers can reintroduce random connections into our locked-down lives, and be a balm for loneliness and grief.”
“Credit … via QuarantineChat
“Like many people, my life in quarantine has included doses of grief, solitude and unpredictability. In early April, a friend recommended that I try QuarantineChat, an app that connects two people who don’t know each other for a phone call. ‘You’ll love it,’ she said.
“I pocketed the suggestion, and remembered it when my grandmother’s health started to deteriorate. If there was a time to connect with strangers — to startle my life out of its humdrum at-home routine, this was it. I hoped, if only for a few minutes, to be reminded of life in other corners. I wanted to remember what it felt like to be curious about someone else — to meet them for the first time.
“My first match, on May 6, was with a man in Bangkok. He told me about his haircut. ‘My barber was wearing a mask and a face shield,’ he said. ‘It was really weird, but I felt so good.’ He lost his job as a copywriter last month. I exhaled and told him about cutting my own hair with the scissors on a Swiss Army knife, a habit I’d picked up years before while traveling on my bicycle. It felt good to laugh and think about other places. I didn’t have to make eye contact or worry about what I looked like.”