We all have our pandemic stories; they have their differences and similarities. Here is my story, in several chapters, interspersed among other blog posts.
In early March 2020 I traveled from New Hampshire to visit some friends in Hawaii for a week. A few days before I left, my friends and I traded emails about the COVID-19 Coronavirus…at that time we really didn’t know how much it was going to impact our lives. In my email I wrote:
“…I have been keeping aware of developments with the coronavirus and wondering if it might impact my trip. Right now, even though there are concerns about traveling, I don’t see any reason to put off visiting you guys…
…We are keeping aware of the situation and we do see some potential future impacts. As I think I had mentioned, we are planning to go to Italy in April, and right now we’re starting to think that may not happen. Also, our nephew and his family who live in Seoul, South Korea are supposed to come visit for Passover, and we are also wondering if that’s going to happen.
So, unless the airline cancels my flights, I am coming next week…”
Wow! “…we do see some potential future impacts”! In hindsight that sure sounds incredibly naïve! But what did I really know? At that time, Portsmouth just seemed to be quieting down a bit and settling into its normal winter tempo.
While travelling, I did take some precautions, I brought antiseptic wipes to clean my seat and tray table and hand sanitizer wipes to clean my hands after using the restroom. Also, on the long flights between Boston and Honolulu, I sat in an aisle seat in the center section with an aisle between me and the window section and three seats between me and the other person in my row.
Once in Hawaii, all seemed normal. We traveled around the island, went to restaurants, played pickle ball and spent time with the people in my friend’s electric vehicle club. It was pretty similar to my earlier visits.
It wasn’t until I arrived at Boston’s Logan Airport that I receive my first taste of what was to come. While waiting for the bus to take me back to Portsmouth, I went to buy some tea at Dunkin Donuts. They had a sign saying that they could no longer fill customers’ travel mugs…the shape of things to come.
I went to the gym a couple of days after getting home, and it seemed pretty normal. I went back a couple of days later and it was largely empty. I took this as a sign that, perhaps for the time being, it was not a good idea to go to the gym. We have been exercising at home ever since.
Needless to say, we didn’t take our trip to Italy (currently scheduled for October 2021, but who knows), and not only did our nephew and his family not come to the US for Passover, but we ended up doing our 2020 seder over Zoom in a few small groups.
Thus began our COVID-19 lives…
Note: Please check out my Photo Essay Portsmouth in the Pandemic which covers the period from the beginning of the pandemic until Portsmouth’s slow reopening in May 2020