One Toke Over The Line, Sweet Jesus
Okay, you’ll recall that last time I had gotten us to the Ronald Reagan Airport in DC, we had made it through the “shopping” (ha!) arcade, and found seats near our gate. And, as you’ll recall, I had just pulled Covid test kits out of my bag.
You may have wondered why. Well, it’s like this. We were visiting friends, some of whom have unique medical situations, and we really didn’t want to take the current version of plague to ‘em if we could. We had been vaxxed and boosted, and we’d worn our masks whenever and wherever it seemed reasonable to do so, and we’d been checking our Covid-status regularly for the past few weeks. So far, we’d been clear, but...you never can tell.
So, we thought we’d self-test one more time before we got on the ground in New England. If it turned out we had contracted Covid...a.k.a., Mr. Xi’s Bilious Two Step Waltz For Full Band and Three Nostrils... we could phone ahead, tell our friends not to get near us, and arrange accommodations at some anonymous modern hotel where nobody ever sees you anyway. I mean, really, who needs to quarantine at your local Motel Generic? You might as well be on Pluto.
Therefore, we now faced the final test...the last Covid before landing...
Nothing to do with the story. Just a nice shot of Martha in a store near Albuquerque's Old Town taken some years back.
I extracted the little boxes with the test kits in them. We each took one and regarded it warily. The next question was where to do the deed. As I’m sure you know (sigh) the test involves inserting a Q-tip like swap up the old nose and wiggling it about a bit. That’s followed by sticking the aforesaid swap into a little container of reagent fluid, and then you put a few drops of the fluid into a wand-thingee and wait for fifteen minutes while hoping and praying that the aforesaid wand-thingee then displays only one line on its screen instead of two. ‘Cause, if you get just one, you probably don’t have the disease, and you’re cool. But, if you get two, you probably do, and you’re toast. Or, at least, lightly browned.
(Actually, I’m told that the whole process resembles that of an EPT, but, since I’m...you know...a guy... I’ve never taken one of those, so I really wouldn’t know. Though, if I did take one, and it turned out positive, well, I’ve a feeling that a mild case of Covid would be the least of my worries.)
The question was now: Where to take the tests? We had thought, originally, of taking them to our respective restrooms and doing them there. But a quick run to both revealed that they were chock-o-block full of distressed travelers with full bladders and the chance of getting even a handy sink for any length of time, much less a stall, was out of the question.
That left the terminal itself. We looked around. There were crowds...and crowds...and more crowds. There were no quiet corners, shadowy and serene, where we might hide ourselves away. Only people, and more people, and then for a change, more people...
We took a brisk walk around the facility, looking for any sort of private place. Or just a sort of kinda private place. But...no. No. No. No. Not a chance. We went though the shopping arcade. Nothing there. We walked almost to the TSA checkpoints. Nothing there either.
Finally, we returned to the gate area. We noticed, at last, a spot over by the windows where there was a small space. There was no privacy to speak of, but at least it was open. We hurried over and claimed it before anyone else could.
We sighed. Okay. I opened the boxes. We took out the swabs. In full view of who knows how many travelers, we went rooting away in nostril one and nostril two. I can’t say for certain whether mothers around us clutched their children and said, “Don’t look! Don’t look!” Nor can I say, for certain, that somewhere in the distance a Stereotypical Little Old Lady From Philadelphia clutched her pearls and whispered “Really! How uncultured!” Nor can I say that a passing French diplomate looked on in horror and said to himself, “Zut Alors!
But, on the other hand, I can’t say those things didn’t happen either.
Either way, we waited. Fifteen long minutes ticked by. Then, slowly, one line formed on the test wands. And the other...
Whew. We were in the clear!
We tossed the test kits into a handy bin...after I’d taken pictures of them, of course, for future reference and/or to demonstrate to friends we didn’t need to make a quick trip to the leper colony...and we headed for our gate. Thirty minutes later, we were boarding.
And, a short time later...
We were on our way...Headed down the [aerial] turnpike for New England/Sweet New England...*
More to come.
*Footnote: The line’s from Paul Simon’s song “Duncan,” (https://www.paulsimon.com/track/duncan-5/) but I’m guessing you had that figured out already.
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