My little weekend escape is over or almost over. This afternoon I was on the back of the plane which allowed me to hear the count and recount of passengers manually by the crew before take off. 91 on board. Confirmed 91 on board by the second attendant.
That led me in my idle time on the plane to calculate the percentage occupied to available. Just over 63% was occupied on this flight. I think that’s an upward tick compared to some previous months of hard times for the airlines. How long can airlines hold on with diminished capacity?
I was flying Southwest as mentioned in a previous post. Group boarding but one seat open in between each passenger unless people are family. Another friend was on Delta with the same open seat strategy which I observed on my last Delta flight. Delta includes sanitizing wipes in the on-board sacks. Another was on Spirit and oddly enough there was no breaks in seats and the plane was more full according to a friend. Interesting how each airline adopts their own plans relating to safety and profit.
The airport seemed busy enough on my return leg but not packed. I again enjoyed the people watching aspect including the two women with shower caps, masks and chemistry- type goggles that I saw in line at Starbucks. I really wanted a picture for this post but I couldn’t bring myself to snapping it.
Just another day in the air for this girl. Surprisingly I was super relaxed and just observing for my pre-flight wait, my actual time in air and as I moseyed on out of the airport for the day.
Time to get back into the swing of life for a few days before traveling again. Figuring out my end of year travels. Have to wrap up the cruddy year of 2020 where I seemed firmly planted most days on the homestead. Off to adventure more.
This was a new term for me this week but apparently it’s all the rage. I went to Disney World on a last minute-trip and boy did I see a lot of 2020 nuances.
Let’s start with the temperature checks. I get it but wow of all the times at Disney this is new and different but definitely expected in 2020. Then there is the mask up rule. Over the mouth and nose at all times. It’s on signs, it’s broadcasted all day on speakers and cast members let you know often.
Only time to remove the mask is when you are actively eating or drinking in a stationary position. No shifting the mask on the move, in line or just for fresh air. Not to mention their mask guidelines are specific. No neck gaiters. Must be two layers. No mask with the vent. Kids over 2 need one. Not just at the park, at Disney Springs and pretty much everywhere. I only felt like I could take a mask break in the bathroom of all places – behind closed doors.
It’s normally a popular fashion statement to have matching Disney shirts, family reunion shirts or special occasions like a newly wed couple or first trip to Disney, but this year the theme was different. Majority of shirts said Socially Disneying or Disney 2020 with toilet paper for the zeroes. Interesting, new and something I didn’t expect.
I also didn’t expect lines to get into retail stores to get a souvenir. One-way traffic when walking. Cow corral type setups at entry points to separate people. Limited food service. Reduced choices all around for snacks. I only found one place that sold my turkey leg that is a normal purchase at Disney. Such a disappointment but with only 30% capacity, I am sure all staff is not working which impacts sales.
The longest, twisted and turned lines that only an imagineer could have designed! I am an adult I can adjust. Kids over age 5 seemed to do well with masks. Kids 0-4 seems challenged A-Z. Take a look.
I thought back to taking my kids in the 0-4 years old category, Squirming around in lines. Wanting an ice cream while waiting in lines. They always thoroughly enjoyed character visits and autographs. Guess what visits are at a distance. A far distance!
Parades at Magic Kingdom were interesting. One float – people gathered in closed proximity. The float moves on and people disperse. 20 minutes later another float. Same scenario. What a clever way to still offer a parade while keeping people together less than fifteen minutes. Genius.
Then at Animal Kingdom they put the characters on a pontoon boat and sent them around in a water tour with music and cheers and waves. Seemed to uplift those around even at a distance. Such creative ways to bend and flex on Disney’s part so people can still enjoy a little different Disney experience during the pandemic.
Disney also did a great job with signage. Reminders in lines to be 6 foot apart. Signs to separate. Seating even on walls or resting places by bathrooms had signage showing not available for seating due to 6 ft rules. In addition there were plastic dividers on rides where lines wrapped and people would normally be in close quarters for an extend period of time. Just creative overall.
Although the theme park was at a drastically reduced capacity it still had lines. Mainly because every other seat was empty on rides.
Now that I covered all the steps Disney took to comply with new rules and regulations, let’s talk about judgment. Those who thought I should not go to such a public place. Those who believe social distancing involves becoming a recluse and staying trapped inside your home avoiding people.
Sorry folks that’s not me. I maintain my health and sanity in more than one way. I work out for mental clarity, stress relief and to get out of the four walls of my home. This is a requirement for me but a risk to others. I support local small business because I am a small business owner and I need to go out to stimulate the economy. I can mask up and comply with local rules but I won’t be a prisoner of the pandemic.
I enjoy fresh air each day. I walk my dog. I go to the park. I ride my bike. I’m sure some particles in the air could get me sick. Particles in the air could have gotten me sick in 2019 before the pandemic too.
Just wrapping up this post with one can socially or physically distance and still be active. Maybe social Disneying is for those who are extreme risk takers but even the most cautious people need to interact with others, breathe fresh air and really just celebrate life. Anything less just isn’t living. I’m not even sure if I’d say it’s surviving. It’s more like being robotic and slavelike.
Everyone has a right to an opinion. Everyone has the freedom to speak. However one should never judge another unless you walk a day in their shoes. And at Disney that means walking a marathon on most days.
I had a great time in Disney. Made mask memories and saw a side of the country practicing safety measures that I would not have seen otherwise. I may not do it again but I enjoyed my spontaneous trip.
The other day I wrote about my travels in reference to my exposures in the airport mainly. As I reflected I thought maybe I should write about my in-flight experience.
This trip was on Southwest where my last trip was on Delta. The boarding process is different when it comes to how they group people for loading but it’s tolerable. Once on the plane I enjoyed the funny announcements. “No alcohol on this flight. That includes alcohol you may have brought with you. Save it for the after party. After you land that is.” Silly but gave me an under the mask giggle.
Then the mystery snack pack arrived. The little bag labeled with nothing but the logo or that was all I could read in the dark plane. What’s in it? A super secret surprise…
I had to put my flashlight on. It’s a snack and a smile package of deliciousness. First I can take my mask down to eat so guess what I chewed ever so slowly. Savoring each bite. One by one. There were little pretzels with a hint of seasoning of some kind. There were cheez-its or knock off cheez-it. It didn’t matter, both of those are favorite snacks. And the bonus was the round bagel crisps for an extra crunch. Yum. A snack pack made just for me! I even asked for an extra one and the gentleman was so sweet to give me another. Lucky me. Munch munch munch I did.
Got to wash down my snacks with some ice cold water. After being masked up for so long in the airport itself the water seemed extra refreshing. I never usually say I like water but this time I can say I actually did. Huge growth moment.
Flash. Flash. Flicker. Flash again. Flickering blue lights. Lasers. All out of the corner of my eye. Why it’s my travel buddy watching music videos that must be rave-type with strobe lights galore. I had to look away. Too much of a crazy show from a neighboring seat.
When I wasn’t snacking and avoiding the laser show, I was admiring the cute little 12-week-old mini golden doodle that was riding in front of me. So cute. So tiny at just 8 pounds with the wimpy little bark. Tucked inside his momma’s carrying case. He did so good on his first plane ride. Made me miss my little Teddie Aspen a little more.
Quick flight. Less than two hours. They had WiFi but I just drifted into my own little peaceful state of self and just enjoyed thinking about things. Making plans in my notes on my phone. Recapping some business matters from the day and so on.
No turbulence. A smooth landing and off I go to the new city. Time to unbuckle and navigate my way to see how another city is adjusting to covid. What new rules will I adjust to? Just a day in the crazy world we live these days.
Today I flew on a plane for the second time since March 2020. The first time was in May for a funeral when many cities were still in shutdown mode. I thought that was an interesting experience back then and I’m sure I documented it but since I was probably numb from the loss of a loved one I didn’t observe everything I could have.
That first flight interaction was new and seemed different. Wearing a mask. Socially distancing. So many rules yet this time was even more of a drastic change. Plastic dividers in the security check line. Masks, gloves, social distancing signs everywhere. Nobody says anything to you. Nobody sits near you in the waiting area. Many restaurants and bars are boarded up in the concourse. Desolate in certain areas.
And if somebody moved off their 6-foot dot in error boy did eyebrows flare in lines. Many may not realize how expressive eyes can be. When masks are on everyone’s eyes are even more fierce. I can see sad eyes, stressed eyes, tired eyes and even angry eyes.
I made the best of my travels. I enjoyed the extra space on the plane itself. I overly enjoyed the people watching as I usually do, but this time I seemed to really savor the experience.
It started in the parking lot when an interesting person chatted it up about parking fees. Then we entered into baggage claim where apparently somebody was returning from the tropics and pretty much left their bathing suit on (it was not visibly pleasing). Then at checkin there was a gentleman with super cool pants that he must have designed himself. A mix match of patterns that flowed nicely in such a clever way. I was jealous.
Moving on to the security check and here I focused on masks. Who was wearing what mask and what did the mask tell me about said person. It was almost a game of sorts with myself in the line. Of course I will never really know if I was right or wrong but I sure did pass time and enjoyed being curious.
Then onto the security scanner which I had to go through multiple times. I didn’t wear the right slip-on shoes so it was a lace up lace down task on repeat for this girl. At least I wasn’t the only one. Every time I had put my shoes on waiting for my bag only to find out I had to go back through and that required shoes on/off. Maybe they should say hold up wait for your bag before you put on your shoes. Then a moment of panic keeping up with my cell phone as I ran back and forth. My everything is online from the airplane ticket to the car rental to the no-touch hotel checkin. Help, I need my phone!
Then the escalator and transit system to the gate. Here I was asked for directions. Puzzling since the signs were in abundance but maybe he couldn’t read. Anyway I had a skull mask on so my travel buddy said geez you look like the least approachable person with that mask yet you have been approached twice. Pretty funny to me but maybe my eyes said I’m nice? Who knows.
At the end of my travels, I can say I had fun. A field trip of sorts. I got to see more people in one place than I have seen all year. It was a wonderful occasion. I wasn’t really excited to fly with the recent outbreak of cases but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.
I love people. I love conversation. I love to watch how things flow. I like to see new places. I just like to explore and that’s what I’m doing. Exploring the new world through my lens and that’s why I’m writing this post.
In case you can’t get out to explore maybe this blog post will show you to do so in spirit with me. I share my lens with you. Enjoy!
Confession time: I am a klutz in the gym. OK, actually I am a klutz anywhere, but it seems to be more noticeable in the gym. Or maybe the bruises are just more obvious evidence and reminders.
First, there were the bruises from learning how to do power cleans. I’d clock myself in the area under my neck, leaving a nice big quarter-sized bruise.
Then, there were the shoulder bruises that clean-and-jerks left when I slammed the dumbbell too hard in transition.
The chin bruises are their own special kind. I may have a permanent lump from doing jumping pull-ups and barely getting my chin over the bar, then hitting it as I quickly came down.
Two other scary ones happened on the chin, too. The first was on my birthday. During the workout and we were racing to do as many shoulder-to-overheads as we could in a short amount of time. We had to break up the sets too. It’s hard to explain, but doing them quickly kept me from having to do more burpees or box jumps or something else ugly. Anyway, one time I cleaned the barbell to my shoulders and then pushed it up as hard as I could, which was great except that my chin was in the way. I smacked myself so hard I saw stars. Thankfully I put the bar down safely and regrouped but what a bruise that was.
The final one I’ll share here was a huge lesson learned (and truly cements my mega-klutz-with-a-side-of-airhead status). In a hotel gym they had a large rack of balls of different sizes. I thought to myself, great, I can do some slam balls. So, I grab one of the bigger ones, lift it over my head, then slam it as hard as I can to the ground. Of course, as you can likely predict, it was not a 20-pound slam ball, but just an inflated hard bouncy ball. It bounced with force and hit me on the chin where again, I saw stars. The lesson here is: first, test new equipment. Second, don’t do new movements in the gym when you are by yourself. I seriously could have knocked myself out.
I love working out, I really do, and my body is capable of way more than I thought possible. But deep inside, I’m still the little girl who perpetually wore bandaids on her skinned-up knees, Dad calling me “Grace” in jest of his stumbly, klutzy, accident-prone daughter. Hope it made you giggle, or shake your head, or some of you maybe feel a little less alone in your clumsy.