Everyone will have a One Year story right about now.
On March 10, 2020, I flew to Los Angeles for a two-day site visit. We were starting to get a sense that the coronavirus was serious, and — after a nerve-wracking few hours of wiping down my arm rests and drop-down table — my flight ended with a man being removed by ambulance in respiratory distress.
Throughout the day of March 11, I trooped around a large housing development in my Amtrak hard hat with a large group of opinionated architectural experts and took increasingly concerned calls from Tim back in Denver: This is looking really bad. Maybe we should give folks the option to work at home? And by the end of the day: please take your laptops with you and plan to work from home until further notice. Lunch that day in L.A. — Peruvian food with a couple of fair housing gurus from HUD — would be my last in-restaurant restaurant meal for over a year.
We cancelled the second day of surveys and I grabbed the first flight home the morning of March 12. One woman on our flight was wearing a full haz-mat suit and gas mask. Another man kept sneezing on people. When we landed in Denver, I drove home and — with these very few exceptions — didn’t leave:
- Occasional trips to the office with Tim, though fewer as COVID cases spiked and it became clear that our doofus aging-Beach-Boy property manager was an anti-masker.
- Four trips that took me inside a post office or UPS store.
- Approximately three carry-out meals that required me to go inside a restaurant.
- Two trips to the dentist.
- One gathering with two other friends on an outdoor deck.
- One adventure inside a Walgreens to get our flu shots.
I participated in my first virtual hearing on March 17. CREEC had its first virtual Happy Hour on March 20 and its first virtual event on September 17. We said farewell to several CREEC employees and welcomed several new ones, all without gathering in person. I argued virtual motions and participated in virtual conferences in a suit jacket, Blue Loom scarf (of course), and shorts.
We started isolating on March 12, 2020. We got our first COVID vaccines on March 7, 2021.
With the exception of the flu shot and our COVID shots last Sunday, I have not been inside a store since March 11, 2020. I’m fine with that.
I am beyond grateful for those who made it possible for an aging asthmatic and a quad to radically isolate for a year, especially Tim’s assistant Bob Wilson, who masked, scrubbed up, stuck by us, and kept his hilarious sense of humor through a very intense year, and every single person who delivered groceries and other things to our door. You had the interactions we were afraid to have.
My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic and the incompetence of the last administration. It really didn’t have to happen this way.