travel in the time of covid

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On Thursday, I got on a plane for the first time in almost 2 years. I flew from Oakland to Austin on Southwest. To accomplish this, I had to walk a half mile to the BART station, take two BART trains to get to the airport, check in, get through security, get on a plane, land in Austin, retrieve my checked luggage, get in a Lyft to the airport, and check in at the hotel, all while wearing my mask.

It may have been the longest period of continual mask wearing for me since this whole thing began. On the plane itself I was double masked.

I had no trouble breathing or getting enough oxygen. I did sweat a fair amount under my mask, especially when getting out into the muggy Austin air.

I saw no one behaving badly, though there were often people who needed to be reminded to cover their nose. No fights, no temper tantrums, no screams of FREEDOM!

I knew that everyone I planned to spend un-masked time with was vaccinated, and whenever in more company than theirs, I masked up. Was it weird and inconvenient? Yes, it was, but you know what else would have been weird and inconvenient? Getting sick, or getting someone else sick.

We still had a great time. We got to cruise the river with dinner and music. We went axe throwing and took a tour of a brewery (the cooler is always the best part, because Austin is hot and muggy).

I even ate inside a restaurant. For the first time since this whole thing started.

I reveled in being with friends I haven’t seen in two years. I hugged people. I relaxed. I did my best not to worry, despite the fact that the day I landed, Austin moved into Stage 5, and I was in a state that would NOT issue a mask mandate. Everywhere we went, business had signs up asking folks to wear masks if not vaccinated and I’d estimate that about half of the people I saw didn’t mask up at all.

I got home last night and my current plan is to quarantine myself for 14 days, as well as to go get a Covid test this week because as careful as we were, this delta variant is a sneaky bastard, and I want to make sure I’m not passing it around my neighborhood.

Hope y’all are safe and healthy, Readers! Now I have to get back to the job search.

Photo by Wolfgang Fürstenhöfer on Unsplash

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