My Jack Kerouac adventure was supposed to begin today. However, life is a moving target and, every now and then, it throws a pandemic at you so you are forced — or persuaded — to change plans. The plan was a journey across America, South to Pacific Northwest with fun stops in Amarillo, Albuquerque, Fort Collins, Boise, and the final destination…Portland (OR). Over the years, more than a decade to be exact, some of these cities have become part of my everyday life. Like a daytime soap opera, all of the aforementioned cities or municipalities peppered my days in someone else’s stories, which I took as mine or simply wished them so. There is no price on dreams, even though they may carry a hefty cost at times. Feeling the risk of digressing here onto a longer story that I do not have the energy to dwell on now, I’ll stick to the trip that never was.
As the 2020 beast of a pandemic continues to ravage the world Attila style, it is only inevitable for a mere mortal to look for ways of breaking a self-imposed restraint to contact others. In defiance of nature, some choose to take the risk of flying, whose assessment in the exposure scale ranks higher every day as airlines ease restrictions on anything that could keep passengers safer. Others opt for the road, although they try to restrict their adventure to a couple of days of driving. In this context, a road trip that usually lures the typical American to grab his vehicle and just set out for days on end becomes a cost-benefit decision. When large states such as Texas, Arizona and even California find themselves increasingly at the mercy of a virus that seems at least well-placed to conquer, risks feel more like Russian roulette than light gambling.
It was caution rather than fear which triggered the thumbs-down on this trip. It may have been the right call or it may have been the last. Of course there were other reasons, but they were hers, so it is not my place to own them.
Death is inevitable, no matter if you are facing a pandemic or simply your everyday life. And life will have its moments, always…on or off the road.