A pandemic diary: All roads lead nowhere

December 17, 2020

Map of Cape Coral and Ft. Myers, Florida

It means very little in the big scheme of things, but my wife and I have had to postpone something we’d been looking forward to: a visit to Florida. We’d planned to head down to Cape Coral, far enough south to have balmy winters yet only a day’s drive from Atlanta. It’s known for canals, manatees, and nature preserves full of birds, just the ticket for a plague-weary pair like ourselves.

We found a nice place on a canal and booked a week in mid-January. Then we looked at how the case numbers have exploded since Thanksgiving, and remembered Dr. Fauci’s warning that Christmas and New Year’s could trigger another surge. To make things even more dire, this part of Florida is heaven for snowbirds, most of whom would arrive around the same time as us.

Having grown up in Michigan, I know how desperate these people are to escape the Midwestern winter. I’m sure they’re also eager to escape social distancing, masks, and other flashpoints of tyranny that were forced down their throats by Communist despots in Lansing, Columbus, Madison, and St. Paul.* Between the out-of-state crowd and the locals, we could wind up in the middle of a hotspot.

This threw our “What if” machine into high gear: What if I break a leg or have some other medical crisis and all the hospitals and ERs are full? Or the grocery stores run out of essentials? Or don’t have enough staff to manage curbside pickup? Or things get so horrific that Georgia starts blocking northbound traffic and we can’t get home? If you think I sound like Chicken Little, read what Maryland just did. These are, unfortunately, possibilities we have to consider, especially since being over 65 puts us at high risk by default. There’s no getting away from it, not now.

We decided the only sane thing to do is put off our trip until April. Assuming we make it, it’ll be our first travel in more than a year. We hoped to celebrate our 20th anniversary last spring on the Panhandle beach where we married, which of course became impossible. But I turned my disappointment into a story called “High Tide” that has a happier ending and was published by the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.**

That’s all any of us can do, play the hand we’re dealt and keep looking ahead. I’d like nothing better than to celebrate our 21st anniversary with a jab of Pfizer or Moderna. I hope y’all get yours very soon. Take care and be safe.

*Irony and sarcasm. In case you couldn’t tell.
**Yes, that’s their real name. This site even requires a Southern Authenticity Statement from all contributors. Mine invokes blues, Faulkner, and Alabama barbecue. Y’aaaiight with that?

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David Swan

Writer, editor, ex-journalist, all-around communicator. Comfortable in real and fictional worlds. Always on the lookout for a great story.