Technically it’s my first flight since 2019 but I have all of the nervousness of my very first flight. I think it was to visit my Aunt Julia and Uncle Herman when I was thirteen or so. Mom and I traveled over my Christmas school break and left the warmth and humidity of Birmingham, Alabama to enter the snow encased winter of Cleveland, Ohio.
We arrived at night and parked on the runway. I panicked, worried that we’d be trapped on the plane because my aunt and uncle couldn’t drive in the snow. No one drove whenever it snowed in Birmingham so how was I to know?? We exited the plane, walked down the icy stairs, through a tunnel of snow and into the airport whole I fretted over my family’s safety.
The airport was warm once we entered it but Uncle Herman’s strong arms and loud laugh were warmer. Then Aunt Julia kissed my lips and I knew we were safe. If I’d had more knowledge and experience I could have enjoyed the snow and the night flight.
Today I’m trying to enjoy this flight and feed my anxiety a gluten-free brownie to shut her up. I’ve done everything to prepare for this trip other than cancel it. Again.
I have not had Covid, have received all of the vaccines and got another booster last week. I wear my mask everywhere, constantly wash my hands, avoid large suspicious crowds, and opt out of most social engagements. I think my friends still love me because they keep inviting me to events I am NOT going to attend.
I am careful, probably in an OCD kind of way, and probably would be satisfied staying in my clean bubble. But my folks miss me and repeatedly extended an offer for a quickly expiring adventure. I had to finally provide an absolute “yes” or “no.”
So, here I am on the first flight scheduled that ended up being delayed for an hour. I sat at the gate feeling nauseous and nervous. And now I’m on this shaking, metal sky bus, taking me on my first visit to Washington DC. I didn’t get the snacks, because they’re probably not gluten-free, but I did sip the water to take my forgotten thyroid medicine. And I have a window seat, which I always enjoy, plus extra legroom and miraculously, an empty row!!
I haven’t forgotten that it’s still 2020 (twenty-twenty-also = twenty-twenty-too) and I won’t be surprised at the unexpected. Will that sip of water and brief lowering of my mask lead to a Covid diagnosis? Will I forget something important on the plane? My wireless headphones already tried to escape! Or will this be the first of a number of boring flights?
I hope it’s a bit of everything: fun, adventurous, safe, and Covid-free. I plan to only take memories and images back home with me plus maybe a few post cards. However, I’m ready if the unexpected happens.
Wish me luck!!
Have you flown in this Covid environment? What was your experience?