For weeks, I’d been dreading this: several days in Austin to clear out our remaining belongings — we’d sold the house in late March –, sell two cars, close our safe deposit box, and then drive 3-4 days back to Oregon.
Luckily, we were able to accomplish said tasks quickly, ship the boxes instead of loading them into our Titanic-sized, impossible-to-park rental car, and fly back instead. As I’ve often remarked, there is almost no problem that can’t be solved by throwing money at it. (Though, to digress, this apparently hasn’t worked for Bill and Melinda Gates.)
This allowed us time to visit with family and friends and reflect on some of the unexpected pleasures of dining out during a pandemic.
Pandemic Travel 2.0
- Waitstaff no longer hover over your table, telling you their life story (“Hi, I’m Bruce and I’ll be your server tonight, although I’m really an actor and I’ve written this cool sci-fi script…”).
- Table spacing makes for a much quieter experience. You might even be able to hear your own conversation.
- Maybe it’s an illusion, but everything just seems cleaner.
- Silverware arrives wrapped in a napkin, rather than having been sitting out on the table.
- Many restaurants have streamlined their menus, so the choices are better thought-out and fresher.
- People are too far away to eavesdrop.
As for air travel,
- Fewer travelers = speedier security. They sure want you to keep moving.
- Nobody seems to worry about liquids anymore.
- Better filtration = less chance of catching a cold or flu, never mind COVID.
- Even anti-maskers have to wear one.
- A discreet cough or two (into your mask of course) and no one will attempt to ask what you’re reading or whether you live at your destination.
- Fewer travelers = less luggage. For the first time in recent memory, our checked bags were already at the carousel by the time we arrived at baggage claim.
Woo hoo — home sweet (temporary) home in one day, not four. So what if we’ll have to load 17 boxes into our car and lug them to a new (also temporary) storage unit; the kids can sort out our crap when we cross the rainbow bridge!