Y’all, I just flew on an actual airplane. Tellement, I mentally prepared for the weeks, if not two months, preceding this eventuality. After doing nothing and going nowhere during the pandemic (does the grocery store and carrying out food count?), L’Husband and I trekked from Vermont to Illinois via car – sans Le Chien – and flew back to be reunited with our little buddy.
And it was okay. I made it. I did not have a panic attack. I did not freak. I did not flippé.
I was actually more comfortable in the airport and on the airplane than in a department store (hard pass) or a restaurant indoors (harder pass), two activities I also decided to try recently after fifteen months of quarantine. I do not care to repeat them. Ever. Le sigh.
To be clear, I am fully vaccinated, so felt pretty safe. And as a rule, I wash my hands religiously (the only activity I undertake with any amount of religious fervor, being skeptical at best of organized religion). I also still socially distance and wear a mask, maskne (mask acne) be damned, regardless of where I am and who else is around.
To be even clearer, social distancing is not always totally possible at the airport, and certainly not on an airplane (le sigh encore). But jockeying my way through O’Hare International Airport on a Saturday morning (of Memorial Day weekend, no less) was actually not that bad. Masks are required. The staff and travelers know the drill. Though I haven’t flown in almost two years, everything looked and seemed totally normal – except for les masks, bien sûr.
Fun note from the plane ride: You get an antibacterial wet wipe when you board to tidy up your seat. Not to brag, but I used to wipe down my seat with my own wipes before it was cool. Some fellow passengers would look at me askance as I methodically wiped down the seat and tray table before settling in. I ask you, dear reader, who’s the germaphobe now? Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Another fun note: snack service is prepackaged. My snack pack contained a miniature bottle of water, a miniature bag of pretzels, a full-size package of cookies (le score) and another wet wipe (!!!).
After my musings on the origins of certain place names while driving though New York State, a friend recommended Names on the Land by George R. Stewart. This 1944 classic, shaded by the influence of World War Two, is proving timely and relevant to our own historical and cultural moment.
For example, early in the book, Stewart writes: “Our heritage of Indian [sic] names is rich and treasured–twenty-six states, eighteen of the greatest cities, most of the larger lakes and longer rivers, a few of the highest mountains, and thousands of smaller towns and natural features . . . The meaning of a name is more than the meaning of the words composing it.” Food for thought as we reckon with American identity, the treatment of BIPOC residents, and the power of language.
Final fun note, though more of a Secret to Flying Tip: alcohol. And my beloved Biscoff cookies (as previously seen on Day Two of my road trip with L’Husband).
How do you feel about traveling during the pandemic?
Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!
À votre santé,