Jerry Martin’s Daybook

Abigail was long overdue for her neuropathy treatments, which are available only in California. In spite of the dramatic uptick in cases there, we decided to brave it, taking all the precautions we could. My son called me a few days before we left, beside himself with panic and warnings, as if I had suddenly decided to take up sky diving. He is a homeland security consultant and trained to measure dangers. I did what lawyers call “due diligence,” reading articles and also asking my town’s Facebook group if any of them had flown recently. Within minutes, 80 responses popped up, some horror stories, others reassuring. One contained a link to an article by a professor of infectious diseases who often flies. He explained that all the air in a plane is recycled every few minutes – old air out, fresh air in from 30,000 feet. In addition, plans have hospital-level filtration systems.

I did what lawyers call “due diligence.” The area we were flying into – Riverside County – is one of the counties with the highest spike in cases. So I checked with the state health department, which provides an online report of where new cases are happening. There were three main problems – prison (where we were not going), cases relocated from an adjacent county lacking in hospital capacity (not relevant to us), and young people who understood the first reprieve as time to party bare-faced (not us!).

Where would we eat? The hotel gave us breakfast in a box, which we took to the patio next to the pool and ate outdoors. There is a great historic hotel nearby, the Mission Inn, which has an open-air courtyard and terrific food. Unlike Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which seems like a ghost town, there were lots of people out and about, but they were almost all wearing masks, even when they were strolling alone on the sidewalks.

Does all this have some world-historical meaning? I confess I don’t know. Maybe it does or maybe it is just a random mega-event. Not everything has a deep meaning; some things just are.

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