It’s been quite a week. Last Friday I flew into Georgia for the UPAA annual symposium hosted at UGA. I have been looking forward to this for a long time since the last two symposiums had to be remote. I spent the last six months or so helping plan the event, including organizing a DEI discussion panel.
On Friday I visited a friend and her kids. We spent the day eating and getting our nails done. Saturday morning I woke to learn that the kids all tested positive for COVID.
They were isolated into their rooms, and my friend and I enjoyed each others’ company for the duration at a distance, which wasn’t hard in her spacious home.
I left Sunday for UGA and spent the the day and evening masked up among unmasked, per close contact guidelines. Late Sunday night my throat was scratchy, so I made my way to my hotel room. Monday morning I had a sore throat and a cough, but tested negative. I masked, ate separately from everyone else, and kept my distance. I attended the board meeting from my hotel room…
To say I was crushed at the situation is an understatement. These folks have become my friends, and to not be able to spend time with them was brutal.
Tuesday morning presentations began and I again tested negative. I continued to distance and keep myself away from others. In the evenings I saw friends outdoors and masked or indoors, still masked and with some space between us.
Everyone attending the conference accepted a level of risk. A small fraction of attendees were masking up, so there was a level of comfort, I just didn’t want to be the person who claims they have allergies.
Wednesday morning I finally tested positive, and my fellow board members did their best to zoom me into various presentations when they could. We kept in touch via text and messaging, but mostly it was just brutally lonely and futile. It’s no one’s fault. I chose to not go straight to the symposium. But still, to make it this far and to become positive during a week I was so looking forward to was hard.
A friend I was texting about it said “If there’s one ting COVID has taught us it’s to look forward to nothing”
On Monday when I first started feeling crummy, I went to the grocery store for healthy food and to CVS for meds. The pharmacist gave me a bag of 20 N95 masks – very hardcore – for free. I zoomed with my doctor who called in antiviral medication for me (“It won’t hurt to take it” he said), and Libby ordered a bullion og gold’s worth of vitamins “Not go pick them up and TAKE them!” she told me.
By the end of the day Wednesday, with no fever or body aches, I decided there was no way I was staying until my flight home three full days later. I found a replacement flight for Thursday, masked up, sanitized like crazy, tried not to touch anything, and flew home.
I’d feel bad about this if it weren’t for the extremely high number of unmasked travelers. Not that I want to get others sick, of course I do not, but people seem kind of over it all.
My flight was delayed by three hours because of the plane needing repairs, and i got very nervous that it would get cancelled because the airlines are a mess right now.
But now I am home on the final day of the symposium, and I still feel like I am in the wrong place. A colleague capably took over moderating the DEI panel for me and I look forward to watching the recording.
Not only has that been a bummer, but the Roe v Wade news came down today in addition to some bullshit about gun control that i don’t even want to look further into since I can’t do shit about it.
While I was out of town, the lovely man I’ve been seeing came and put out my recycling, which was overflowing and needed to be taken away desperately. He also kept my flowers from becoming too sad by watering them.
When I got home he texted “Did you notice anything different?” It took me a while to figure out that he had also come and power washed the side of my carport, which I have been unable to get clean of the previous mural. What a guy!
And he couldn’t have had better timing considering how idle I am here at home, and the need for some art therapy.