Dating from a Distance

Emmalyse Brownstein
Vero Beach, Florida
March 27, 2020 4 p.m.

Dating from a Distance

Today I tried something I’d never done before — a virtual date.

Leo and I use FaceTime on our phones to react and talk about the movie in real time, despite being about 150 miles apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, I had to move out of Stanford Residential College and back to my home in Vero Beach, Florida, which is about 2.5 hours north of Miami. My boyfriend, Leo Beleno, is living in Miami with his grandparents.

In an attempt to make up for the time we’d usually spend together, we “hang out” over Face Time. While video calling, we discovered an app called Kast that allows users to join “parties” and screen share from computer to computer.

So, we decided to watch a movie together…ish.

Leo put “Enemy” on his computer, selected to share his screen with me, and I was to watch along. At first, we thought our ingenious idea was squashed by copyright — Netflix, Hulu and even third-party watch sites were showing up with black screens on my end.

Leo and I watch “Enemy” on Netflix from our separate bedrooms via Kast on what would’ve otherwise been another boring afternoon of social distancing.

In my determination to make this “date” happen, I found an article online about fixing the issue. It wasn’t copyright — it was something about hardware graphics acceleration. I don’t know. But we fixed it!

As we watched “Enemy” — an A24 movie that gave a similarly perplexing mood as “Inception” — on our laptops, we also Face Timed on our phones so we could still talk and see each other. A lot of Wi-Fi and battery life were sacrificed.

Although I had no one to share my bag of popcorn, it was nice to be able to do something sort of normal. I just hope this isn’t a thing we have to do for much longer.

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