awareness

I Went to Jail

I legit went to jail. Not in cuffs, not as a visitor. I went as a contractor. This vantage point was different. I got to observe the inmates cleaning. It’s their job to keep that place immaculate.

I got to observe the line formations by gender. I saw the orange jumpsuit uniforms. I heard the specific directives while in line such as “eyes forward, no talking.”

It was a lot to take in. I thought about all my freedoms. My ability to choose. My ability to say yes or no. Inmates have no choice, no independence, no rights, and certainly no individuality.  I couldn’t last a day in jail. 

I love my freedom to choose.  I love my independence. I love my individuality. Having a glimpse of what this life looked like is confirmation I never want to be there. I certainly applaud those who make it through the challenges of incarceration for those serving time as well as those outside the walls supporting them.

Today I got to leave the jail.  I didn’t get to share a smile. This was hard for me because I like to offer hope through positive actions and not being able to share a smile is hard. Maybe next visit I’ll find a way to share hope. Maybe I’ll work on my winks.

As you read this post think about those incarcerated who are suffering today. Say a prayer for them tonight.  

perspective

Be Still

There I was packed in the plane like a sardine in a can. 24 rows deep. 4 across each aisle. Racked and stacked you’d say. The plane is full.

No 6 feet distanced. Lots of people. Recycled air. Masks up. Here we go. Cheers to a great flight. Up up and away we go.

As I sit still I look over my shoulder and see the peaceful sky. There we are floating in the clouds with the border of the baby blue sky. I enjoyed the peacefulness of being still. The calm. The beauty. The colors.

This is such a variance from my crazy hectic days in the office. Escapes like these with picturesque scenery help me appreciate life and all the experiences one can have as long as their eyes are open.

In that moment it took away the tears of the girl by my side feeling anxious in the sky. The mask. The extra people. The sardine-like atmosphere. Watering eyes over the mask showed the pain. Shaking of the leg showed discomfort. Grasping jewelry around her neck for comfort. How were we so close yet I felt calm and she felt fear?

If I could take it away the pain and fear I would. As we move along the calmness peeks through her fear. The discomfort was temporary thank goodness. A movie is on. A snack in hand. A little water to wash away the woes.

The other neighbor is a technology guru. Clicking on the wifi. Surfing movies. Wait, I need to sneeze. Oh my not on a plane. Yup not once, twice. We giggle in the row a little. Good thing my mask was up! My neighbor didn’t flinch on her technology. Cropping and editing photos. Music in the ears. Not even phased. I’m even learning how to make cartoon images on an iPad from the neighboring seat. It’s so fun to see how others pass time.

Meanwhile, I just keep floating in the cloud. Glancing into the horizon. Thinking about tomorrow. Visualizing the fun and adventures ahead on my little trip. Time to wrap this post up.

That was a long 15 minutes if I do say so myself. This story is real. You may be the most fearless person and boom anxiety can hit. Without warning. Surround yourself with people who know you and can see your struggles so that you can be comforted when your world is closing in on you.

For now I will be still and enjoy my trip above the clouds. My special place where I am just floating in thought as I write some blogs on this very day.

Sending you a smile and wink from the sky above. Somewhere over Jackson, Mississippi. I giggled a little as I wrote that state. M-i-squiggly lines-I-squiggly lines-i-pp-i as I recall from my childhood school days.

adventure

91 On Board

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.

Stay tuned to see where I land next…

perspective

Social Disneying

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.

adventure

In the Air

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. 

Adventure awaits.