An Absolute Miracle

Notes from the road: Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco.

I took a photo of my vaccination card, just in case, but no one asked about my vaccine status. I noticed while sorting my documents that while I have two more years on my driver’s license, my passport expires in a month, which means I need to renew it now — apparently, there’s a big backlog at the moment, and I’m hoping to be able to travel to Amsterdam (COVID-permitting) in November.

It’s very people-y in the airport, but I feel pretty well protected between my Moderna vaccine, mask, and the sleek little face shield that Jed found.

Security person #1, curiously: “What’s that?”

Me: “A face shield, see?” (Flips it down to demonstrate)

Security person #1: “Oh, cool.”

I’m not necessarily keeping the face shield on the whole time — masks are required both in the airport and on the airplane, except if you’re lowering the mask to sip or eat. I can still have the face shield on then; it’s open at the bottom, so it’s a nice way to facilitate eating / drinking during a long travel day, while minimizing the chance of someone coughing on you, or you coughing on someone else.

I probably wouldn’t bother for a short flight, but for anything over four hours, I think it’s worth considering, especially if you’ll be travelling through hot spots (or airports in communities with high levels of non-compliance with masks / vaccinations). It steams up a bit if you talk to people, but it’s easy to pop up onto your head, or all the way back.

It did trigger the security sensor, so I had to go back through to take it off (easy to take off and put on with buckles at shoulders); I’ll just take it off proactively and put it through the baggage scanner on my way back with my laptop, etc.

Hood comes in black / beige / grey / white, about $40 + shipping. Link (allow a few weeks for shipping from Bulgaria): https://www.etsy.com/…/face-shield-full-face-mask-hood…

Security person #2, after patting me down thoroughly due to a mysterious ping in the groin region, a pat-down in which I was cheerful, moved as needed without much prompting, familiar with the drill from prior travels: “I wish all my customers were like you!”

Me, grinning: “I’m just SO HAPPY to be travelling again!”

I packed a lunch in case I got hungry, since I wasn’t sure what the food situation would be, and I have a little bit of a complex about running out of food while traveling. My beloved Frontera wasn’t open, alas, so I didn’t get my standard grilled pork + fig torta for travelling; lots of other places are, though, and the Starbucks chai is just as yummy as I remembered, even if it’s not that much like actual chai. 🙂

Ensconced now at the gate with my laptop and beverage, the woman beside me strikes up a bit of conversation — it turns out that she’s also going to Mountain View, with a husband who works at Google (which is where Jed works). Small world!

Feeling incredibly grateful to be able to travel again. Vaccines are an absolute miracle. Thanks, science!

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