You're Gonna Get on a WHAT?
The Best of Times|September 2020
You're Gonna Get on a WHAT?
Traveling in the Times of a Pandemic
Fyllis Hockman

“So I’m planning on flying up to Portland, Maine next week,” I told my friend. Dead silence. Clear disapproval. I understood that. It’s July, still in the midst of our much misunderstood pandemic and I was doing something crazy. Getting on an airplane.

But how else was I going to get to the cabin in the small town of Rangeley in western Maine where my husband and I have spent the last 25 summers? My husband was driving up earlier with a packed car – and I tend to commute back and forth from Washington, DC. So a number of flights in my future.

Already, my husband is sending me daily reminders of all the precautions I need to make: multiple masks, don’t touch anything; take a lifetime supply of handi-wipes; don’t touch anything; wash your hands constantly; don’t touch anything. I’m feeling over-whelmed; also cautious but confident. Until I read another article about the potential dangers of contracting the virus in flight.

I’m in the Uber and I want to ask the driver if he’s been to any restaurants, marched in a protest or knows anyone with the virus. I’m pretty sure those are all inappropriate questions unless I’m screening someone at a doctor’s office. I sit back – and then forward -- and try not to touch anything.


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September 2020