Tag Archives: covid travel

COVID Flying

I got on a plane last week to fly to Kansas (you can read about that in a prior post).  I was really nervous about it and wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing (safety-wise).  I’ve basically been barricaded in my apartment for the most part since the virus outbreak (aside from a weekend at Disney – which is cleaner than the grocery store), seeing only a handful of people.  It’s been like this since my office shut down back in early Spring and I started working from home.

Certainly, I’ve avoided small confined spaces with strangers like the plague (get it?) since this started, so getting onto this flying tube with a bunch of other random people did make me nervous.  But… I wanted to go.  I needed to see what would happen when I got there. I needed to know what it would FEEL like – this… thing… we’ve been flirting around with, off and on, for the last eighteen years. And when I get it in my head that I want to do something, I do it.  This does not always work out in my favor, granted.  But when I think something is important, I make it a priority – often putting myself at risk.

And anyway, in the middle of a pandemic when literally anything could happen, in a time that found us both unattached for, really, the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like I had the time to waste… or to push it off.  Or at least there wasn’t the certainty that the opportunity would still be there when things became right again.

Still, because I am a planner, a prepper, whatever the hell you want to call it, he and I did take precautions.

I flew on Southwest, because (at least through November 30), they are leaving the middle seats open.  That doesn’t help a ton – because there’s certainly not six feet of distance between the two seats, but it helps some.  And it lowers the volume of people who are on each flight. 

At the time I chose direct flights – I thought if I were going to be exposed to people, it would be better to be exposed to the same group of people for that extended period  of time instead of meandering through random airports on a layover while I waited for another flight.  I am still not sure which is safer – it probably depends on where the layover is, how long it is, etc.  They say that prolonged exposure is more dangerous than short exposure, but they also say that walking through aerosols and touching surfaces isn’t great either – and I’m much more likely to come into contact with both of those things if I’m wandering around several airports than if I’m sitting, facing forward, on a plane.   And anyway, layovers are frustrating at the best of times.

I then decided to get an upgrade on masks.  After doing some research, I went with some masks from Masqd (www.masqd.com) because the reviews talked about how comfortable they are, how well they fit your face, and because many of them accommodate removeable filters.  I don’t know how well the filters work in comparison to masks without filters, but I wanted to make sure I had that option available if I went with it.  So I ordered three of their masks, and a box of their filters.  I’m happy to report that they really ARE as comfortable as they claim, that they really do fit my face (and I have a narrow face), and I could easily breathe through the filter – even if it did certainly increase the weight of the mask slightly.

I found a container of sanitizer wipes and also brought a bottle of hand sanitizer with me on the plane (TSA lets you carry those through now).  The plan was to wipe down everything before I touched it with my bare hands (like the seatbelt). 

The Professor and I talked about whether I should change and/or shower before I let him touch me after getting off the plane but ultimately we decided it wouldn’t be necessary so I didn’t pack a spare change of clothes in my pack (everything was in my checked bag). 

Finally I was ready.  I am happy to report that it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The airport was empty, for the most part, and there were hand sanitizing stations everywhere.  Seats were blocked off to encourage distancing – and most people did stay the hell away from each other.  One lady decided to sit next to me while I was waiting for my plane, took her mask off, and started speaking loudly… so I just got up and walked to another location (of which there were plenty, since it was so dead in there).

Southwest’s boarding procedures are better, too, as people don’t line up like they used to and they board in groups of ten.  I am sure it helped that I paid for an A-spot upgrade.  I got my pick of seats (a window seat to ensure that I was at least away from people on one side) and didn’t have to pass through crowds of people as I walked to it. 

During the flight, Southwest still does snacks and gives out small cups of water to those that want them during the flight.  I abstained because I didn’t want to remove my mask for any reason.  A lot of people did (and I really felt, during that entire flight, that that was probably the most dangerous time) and afterward put their masks back on – mostly… a few people had to be reminded but no one got bent out of shape about it.  Really, those was two of the more subdued flights I’ve ever been on – and that’s a good thing! 

Like the boarding process, the deboarding process was also very organized.  No one was shoving anyone, everyone let each aisle leave before they started to push forward.  Southwest didn’t really orchestrate that like they did the boarding process, but at least on that flight it wasn’t needed.

All in all, under similar circumstances, I’d fly again if I had to.  I mean I don’t do it every day, I don’t have to travel for work, but I felt pretty safe with the safety measures in place and was confident enough, when I landed, to feel that I was at least at the point of decontamination so that I didn’t have to wear a hazmat suit to say hello properly after I got my feet on the ground. 

Like I said in an earlier post – I don’t know if (though I think it’s likely) or when I’ll go back up there.  I don’t know if (though again, it’s “most likely” – per him) or when he will come here.  I hope that either (or both) happen soon.  But whenever they happen, or if they do, if the pandemic is still in full force (and I mean come on… with all of it exploding again, how could it not be), as long as there’s an airline that has at least some of their protective measures still in place, I won’t feel so iffy about the travel part of it.   

The Now is Better

I keep telling myself that I need to post – and I want to post – but the thoughts that are in my head are nowhere near enough to provide me with any kind of clear narrative (and, hence, make it impossible to write about them). 

It probably also does not help that I’ve been surrounded by noise lately.  Neighbors downstairs that made it sound like their apartment was a war zone (they’ve since been evicted)… people screaming at the pool (which I can conveniently (inconveniently?) hear through my door), lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and then during most of this week and part of last, the landscaping service that is trimming trees during the day – making it impossible to do work, let alone anything creative and extracurricular.  Or, really, anything that requires any kind of thinking.

Good thing I can do the webinar delivery part of my job on autopilot. 

So, things are still pretty much the same.  Playing a lot of Fortnite with my friend.  I’m getting better at it. 

Shoots are scheduled, and I’m returning back to the world that makes me “tick” – ever grateful that if this all had to end (and it becomes clearer to me by the day that this really was for the best), at least it ended while I was still young enough to pick it back up again… if not where I left off, at least with enough time that I can keep doing it at least for a while longer. 

I finally got my car fixed – earlier this year a bunch of the dash lights started coming on… the computer had gone haywire and the ABS was no longer working.  It was a pretty expensive fix, and some people might argue that, since it drove and was basically fine, I shouldn’t spend the money on it.  But I love this car.  I have wanted this car for a really long time.  There’s no way I’m getting rid of her… ever… if it ever came down to it, and the engine died, I’d find another engine before I got another car.  So not getting her fixed was not an option.  I had to wait until I could save the money to do it – but my bonus from work came through, and the first stimulus covered some of it too, including what I had in savings already.  Not wanting me to spend all I had, my parents chipped in about half (probably also because my father also really loves my car), and that helped.  Anyway she’s all fixed now… good as new… and we zip around together when I need to run errands.

I guess the biggest news is that plane tickets have been purchased and I’m going on a trip to an undisclosed (because I’m not disclosing it, not because I don’t know where it is) location in two weeks.  I’m a little apprehensive about the flight, I won’t lie, but I’ve done all I can to take all the precautions that I can to keep myself safe – including investing in more expensive masks that contain replaceable filters (NOT the kind reserved for healthcare workers).  I am also slightly apprehensive about getting to the place to visit my friend… it has been a really long time since we last saw each other, though we’ve kept in touch periodically (and pretty consistently since the end of August).  I am sure that it will all be okay, and it’ll probably be like no time has passed at all, but you know how it is… you don’t really know what to expect.

Sometimes I sit here and, for a minute, I miss what was… I guess my brain starts doing that thing where it tries to convince me that what I had is better than what’s happening now.  Thing is, I think my brain also knows better – because if I really look at it, objectively, it wasn’t.  It wasn’t simple… it wasn’t easy… sure I didn’t have to worry about who I was going to do stuff with, but I had to worry about how I was going to pay for all the stuff that was being done.  And I had to worry about being the sole earner, the bill payer (I guess I’m still that – but it’s just my bills), the caregiver and support system, the optimist, etc., etc., etc.  And it was stressful.  I won’t say it was always bad – there were some good times sprinkled in there in some places – but if I’m being really honest, the good times were always followed by longer, unhappier situations that became progressively more extreme and serious.  And it always led to more debt that I will, whether I want to or not, have to pay off.  You can’t call American Express and tell them you shouldn’t have to pay this off because you spent six years supporting someone that you shouldn’t and it didn’t end the way you thought it would. 

And as much as I know that Ormsby wants to walk it all back… to put things back to the way they were, the truth is, the way they were was not good for me.  I was in too deep to recognize that at the time, and I guess when I DID recognize it, I told it to shut up because I wasn’t really thinking of my own wellbeing.  But now that I’ve gotten some distance from it, and I am thinking only OF me, I can see it more clearly… which is, of course, what sometimes happens when you change the perspective.

For someone who didn’t know what to write, I guess I figured it out.  All the same, I’ll leave this here… I have to go get treats for the cats in a few minutes anyway.  It’s a nail trim night.