I wouldn’t have done it without a really good reason. It just seemed so risky especially because I am of a certain age and considered to be more vulnerable. But, I had to, I just had to do it. And, my husband was all in so I didn’t have to do it alone!
We booked the Jet Blue flight to Seattle from Boston and invested in the essential facial plastic (not the lift and tuck kind). We bought the face shield and the plastic goggles, plastic pump bottle of sanitizer and found an adequate double mask solution.
I rehearsed wearing my Covid travel costume because I was freaked out by it. Wearing the get-up around the condo working through claustrophobia I tried to modulate my breath. The KN95 mask’s elastic started to dig in behind my ears but the double layering made me feel like I was wearing a super absorbent Modess pad around my face. Feeling anxious about a 6 plus hour masked-up flight, I called my Doctor to get a script of Adivan, just in case. I hate the stuff but there was a possibility I could hyperventilate on the plane and may need it.
The truth is I was giddy with excitement. Confident I had the right gear, once I got to Logan airport I said to Bill,
“I feel like an explorer in all this gear, like we are on some daring crazy adventure and it’s sort of exhilarating. We look like the hikers in John Krakauer’s Into Thin Air” And, like those explorers we were prepared, (we even had our pulse oximeters) and we had no intention of ending up with anything but success.
And everything felt novel, the airport, the TSA people, the whole scene. We were definitely out of practice, as we haven’t flown since March 9th.
There has been quite a friend group discussion about flying and barely any of my friends have hopped on a plane since Covid broke in March and it has felt like a bit of a dare to get on a flight, especially a cross country flight. But, this trip couldn’t wait any longer.
Chanting my new motivating Mantra “Life Isn’t Cancelled” there was no stopping us even if it meant the risks of getting sick were higher than staying home. We had taken as many precautions as needed. We had taken our Covid tests on Martha’s Vineyard on Monday, our negative Quest results came in just in time, on Wednesday and by Thursday we were westward bound.
But, we had a good reason to risk our lives. Our grand baby was born this summer and it was now fall. Too much time had passed and it was looking like this visit could be interrupted by the current spike in Covid numbers as we face an imminent second wave. It was now, now, now and the kids were on board with us coming so that was it! We were determined.
Determination is clearly the antidote for anticipatory anxiety.
The Jet Blue terminal was empty, the TSA line quick and the plane was super clean. We had a row to ourselves and once in our seats we felt totally at ease.
We love to travel and the sweet muscle memory of going on an adventure washed over us and we were back at it.
“I could do this again, I’m ready to start traveling, this makes me feel courageous,” I said to Bill. He agreed.
Happily the 6 plus hour flight had been smooth, the bathroom clean, plenty of hand sanitizer, the attendants were my new best friends, incredibly warm and helpful and it all seemed just so doable except for the part I forgot about flying….
“Bump, jolt, bump bump bump”
“Please remain in your seats, this is mountain air. We are experiencing mountain air, vertical turbulence, please be seated.”
“Vertical Turbulence,” My double mask was now damp. Was I sweating out of my mouth into that paper? Rapid breathing and inhaling my Pop Chip Breath was a little spicey.
But, then it passed.
Ok, so this is flying. It turns out there’s a lot of faith required. Travel is definitely exhilarating but it’s the ultimate in letting go and trusting so many so we can all be safe: the airline, the pilots, that the other passengers will be cooperative and trusting ourselves that we will keep calm and go with whatever happens.
And in one day, what we had talked about for months we accomplished in just one day, like a successful ascent on Everest. We had summited! Thank you Jet Blue!