Today was the day that social distancing felt real. I felt sad. CD sat down with his guitar after dinner. I sat next to him. The kids ran around the house, climbed on me, bumped into each other, threw pillows, and interrupted. After trying to get through one song for fifteen minutes, CD gave up.
I had trouble imagining sitting within six feet of our friends, having cocktails, playing music, talking, and laughing. It is going to take a while to get there, even when we eventually go back to school and work.
My mind is full of what seems like hundreds of memories of carefree times. I don’t regret resigning from my first full time job in 2001. That was the beginning of a merger between my professional life and me as a person.
I don’t regret eight years of seasonal physical therapy work at a ski resort in Colorado. I don’t regret spending six weeks or more at our family cottage year after year. I don’t regret skiing all over the western US or backpacking through Europe. I would do it all again.
I have been working on the “Throwback Blog Series” but there is just too much to write about and I don’t know how far to “Throwback”.
This story isn’t really about peaceful and easy times but it is a story about life.
There was a snow storm in Denver during December 2006. I had flown to Michigan for family Christmas and was headed back to Colorado to work during the holidays. One of the side effects of working seasonally was being a bit extra thrifty at times. I bid on Priceline for plane tickets and was routed from Grand Rapids, to Chicago, Fayetteville, and finally to Denver.
The weather report in Denver didn’t look great but my flight from Grand Rapids was on time. When my flight was boarding in Chicago, Denver airport was still open but I wasn’t going to Denver. I was going to Fayetteville.
I landed in Fayetteville and exited the plane down onto the runway. I walked inside the airport to see that DIA was closed. It was just before Christmas. The only flight they offered was a flight to Nashville. I wasn’t sure how that would help since I had come from Michigan and was headed to Chicago. I passed on that.
I decided to rent a car and drive to DIA. Next to me in line were Nick and Scott. They didn’t know each other but they were each trying to get to Denver. We rented a car and headed West.
In Amarillo we attended a Christmas party at Taco Bell. It was complete with children and teenagers in pajamas and mother’s with crock pots. In Boise City a man guarding the road told us we would never make it to Denver. In Peublo, we had clear roads and sun. Just North of there the road was closed due to 12 foot snow drifts.
We spent a night on the road. We were ten hours outside of Fayetteville, in Boise City, Oklahoma at the Townsman Hotel. Our provisions consisted of left over Taco Bell, a six pack of High Life, and a few Twizzlers. I had a dead cell phone battery but the room at wireless internet and was decorated with a painting that looked more like a 1970’s rug.
The next day we did something that I certainly do not endorse. We drove on the road that was open but was not recommended for travel. I can’t believe we made it. Yikes!
Our route was 287 to Lamar where the road was closed again. We chose an alternate route on Highway 50 to I-25. We traveled I-25 to Colorado Springs, where the road was closed. We spent a few hours and a couple of gift cards at Applebee’s and headed North on I-25 as soon as it opened.
I dropped off my co-travelers South of Denver and continued to DIA. Denver was shut down and DIA was closed. I followed some plow trucks down an exit ramp and arrived at the car rental location. It was closed. Someone was working in the parking lot and agreed to shuttle me to my car. I dropped the rental car keys in the drop box and hoped for the best.
My car was in economy parking, outside. The economy lot was closed. The snow really was deep. I got dropped off at an empty terminal and looked for lights from the security guards cars. I waded through past my knees through the parking lot until I reached a security guard.
The guard called a front end loader named Rescue III. It came and dug my car out. It continue to dig and dug a single lane path out of the parking lot. I got in my Trailblazer and drove home to the high country.
Why did I do this? I have no idea. Was it fun? Maybe but mostly a series of less than great choices. Would I do it again? No way. I would grab a comfortable hotel in Fayetteville and stay for a few days.
I look forward to being half as carefree again someday. I write a lot about places that are quiet and isolated. Those places are best spent with a few friends. Without a few friends by my side, I wouldn’t have enjoyed any of those places nearly as much.
I aspire to be sitting in the sun with family friends closer than six feet away, being human again.