Wednesday, January 12, 2022

don't be so positive

This is what I should be eating while sitting in my usual 2D seat on this afternoon's Alaska flight to Los Angeles. I would be somewhere over Mazatlán right now.

Long before The Age of Covid, I would pack my own china, linen, cutlery, and food for my flight. The Age of Take This Plane to Havana stripped the cutlery from my kit. But the rest have been part of my flying regime for decades.

I have dropped several hints here that I was heading off on a cruise starting today with a flight to Los Angeles, a short stay there, and then off to San Juan for an early Friday arrival.

This trip was a little more complex logistically than most of my recent journeys. Two nights of hotels in Los Angeles. Flights with two different airlines. Two nights before the cruise and two nights after in San Juan.

Because Puerto Rico requires a covid test taken no more than 48 hours before entering the commonwealth, I decided to put off taking the test required for entering The States. If I timed it correctly, I could use one test for both entries. An additional test is required to board the ship.

I always use the lab of my friend Beny in San Patricio Melaque for my covid-free certifications. Her operation is always efficient and courteous. So, I stopped by for a test just after 11 this morning. She would send the results by email.

I had barely walked a half-mile toward home when I heard the distinctive "bing" of a message on my telephone. When I am walking, I ignore messages and telephone calls. But I was expecting to receive some information from my friends Roy and Nancy who I was meeting in San Juan.

It was not them. It was Beny. My test had come back positive.

I was not surprised. The test has only two outcomes -- positive or negative. And there is always a possibility it could go one way or the other. This time, the result was "Steve, you cannot fly today -- or probably any time within the next few days."

Trying to kill all of my options, I walked back to the lab to ask Beny if a second test would give a different result. Apparently, that is possible depending on the virus load. In my case, the test results were not even close. If it had been a pregnancy test (a kissing cousin to the antigen test), I would be really really pregnant.

Taking into account the time it took to set up this break from life in Barra de Navidad, I was shocked how quickly I was able to cancel everything. It was done within five minutes. (Now, I only need to hear back from my travel agent that the cruise is officially canceled.)

I was pleased to discover that almost all of the payments were either repaid to my credit card or banked away as future airline credits (that I hope to use soon). I lost only about a thousand dollars in hotel rooms that were non-refundable. We shall see how generous the cruise line is.

So, instead of regaling the flight attendants and my fellow passengers with my clever charcuterie, I am enjoying it alone in my library while watching another dreadful Netflix movie. At least, my dinner is a hit.

And, as for that positive covid test, I am going to take measures to limit exposing people to the little critters hiding in my nasal mist. I now know seventeen people (many of whom I have had contact with in the past week) who have The Virus. They are all mainly symptom-free. And the ones who have jobs continue to work because they have no option.

I do have an option. And I am going to use it -- even though I am as symptom-free today as I was last week. That, of course, is subject to change during the next five days. We shall see.

When I announced a couple of days ago that I was Caribbean-bound for a cruise, my fellow Oregon lawyer, Bill Bloom, commented: "Steve, good luck on the floating petri dish! Enjoy your quarantine!" It turns out that the petri dish was not in the Caribbean; it was right here all along.

So, I will finish up my meat and cheese and lean back with the newspaper for the rest of the evening. I am certainly not going anywhere tonight.


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