After long weeks of restlessness, the veil of lockdown slowly lifts. During transition, best days are spent communicating with clients and imagining future trips. This, plus creating strategic marketing plans, navigating fluctuating supplier policies, expediting client refunds, handling rebookings. Wide open schedule gaps remain. Has Summer ever felt this welcome or sprouted so colorfully? As is my custom, I’m going outside for some perspective and inspiration.
Scanning the green scene, a familiar blight emerges. Our aged, washed out shed looms, a massive ogre in the landscape. Years of constant sun have bleached its once dazzling Carolina blue coat to an azure whisper. The trim appears battered with artillery from voracious carpenter bees, wood rot has devoured the door, flower boxes hang forlornly, twiggy leaves obliterate the foundation. If sheds could talk, I’d hear Save Me.
With personal travel plans on hold and extra time, revitalization begins. First, prep work: cleaning the siding, filling holes, clearing debris. Color? Rhyme time alert: let’s redo with a new blue hue! This, a deeper marine tone resonant of seaside vacations, adding depth to the structure and pop in its corner. Predictably, my resdesign zeal is gradually diminished by the magnitude of the project. Muscles groan, stretching to reach cracks in high spots. Engaging in audacious gymnastic maneuvers, I’m reminded urgent care is only 5 minutes away. Painting typically puts me in zen mode. Losing myself to indigo strokes against the weary wood grain, I begin reflecting on the analogies of pandemic painting and future travel expectations.
Out with the old, in with the new. Our travel world is getting a major reboot. Beyond more thorough cleaning/sanitation measures, PPE wear, enhanced airline and hotel check in/processing methods for customers, simply getting through security and onto a plane will be a journey. Good news: TSA rules have changed to allow 12oz sanitizer containers until “further notice”. Flip side: alarmingly, though fewer people are traveling, more illegal items are being confiscated, to include loaded guns, razors in shoes, pyrotechnics and grenades*. Kudos, TSA for such vigilance and dedication! For mutual trip joy, let’s all just agree to keep the weaponry at home.
Preflight COVID-19 testing for passengers and enhanced screening measures are already being implemented by numerous global carriers. Several airlines have enacted various measures to enable social distancing, such as keeping passengers in gate areas until their row is called, boarding back to front, blocking some middle seats. Flight attendants will be masked with increasingly similar requirements for passengers on many airlines. This may seem a bit uncomfortable at first, but with the ultimate goal of maximum safety and health for all concerned, certainly worthwhile.
Food service will be minimal to non existent. Currently, passengers are encouraged to carry food with them packed in separate ziplock bags, especially for extended flights. My sense is that domestically and internationally, processes must be streamlined for efficiency and to maintain passenger expectations. Harking back to the ups and downs of post 9/11 security screening, I recall how airports underwent major upheaval over an extended period which included administrative changes from private to government-run. Over time, consistency was established with passengers becoming more familiarized with new procedures. Having flown within 2 weeks of this horrific event, memories surface how, in the midst of chaos, patience, kindness, and consideration prevailed among travelers. While dissonance persists in our present COVID-19 climate, I remain confident we will work our way through any rough patches with the same cooperative mindset and charitable hearts. Hope springs eternal.
Adapting to new rules is never easy, but humanly doable. Handwashing and sanitizing is already ingrained in our routines, at home or away. For personal and public safety, we’ll wear our masks and gloves, communicating at safe distances. Extra effort? Sure, but in the end, we’ll be healthier for it and arrive at our destinations safely. Is there a better goal?
Back to the shed. Without this gift of time, I’d never have undertaken nor completed this project. In past weeks, yard beautification evolved as a welcome escape from my desk and daily viral updates. As I stand back and look at my mess to success, obvious parallels surface. The color is not exactly what I envisioned; I can live with it. It took longer than planned to finish; I’ll manage. Dodging ladder hazards, such as balancing brush and bucket while avoiding wasp nests, was unnerving; I survived. In the midst of managing professional commitments, I discovered pandemic painting as a corollary to our current travel environment: working out solutions, unsure exactly how it will turn out, knowing it will be different, might take some getting used to, accepting safe results. Mixing a can-do attitude with a little effort produces amazing outcomes. With a smiling deep exhale, I’m reminded of all this as I survey these changes, happy for a job well done and thankful to be healthy enough to take on this arduous task. My takeaways? Perseverance. Patience. Gratitude. Relief.
Blight to beauty, a freshly painted shed ~ with an invigorated, optimistic perspective on travel days ahead. We’ll get there.
*per April 24, 2020 TSA blogpost, http://www.tsa.gov.