A friend of mine, Bob, recently went on his longest trip since the pandemic began. His mother lives over the border in Pennsylvania, about 90 miles from here, and he needed to take her some supplies that weren’t available in the small town where she resides. But once Bob crossed the state line he was stopped because of his Ohio plates by a State Trooper warning him that if he planned on staying in Pennsylvania he would need to self-quarantine for 14 days. He also admitted that police were looking for contraband booze that some Ohioans have apparently been bootlegging in since Pennsylvania’s governor ordered liquor stores to shut down. Then Bob’s mother refused to open the door for him, afraid he might kill her (accidentally, of course.) She told him to leave the box of supplies on the porch and go straight home. “And don’t talk to strangers!” Not quite the fun trip he had imagined.
Summer vacation is going to have to be a little different this year. No stays at beach resorts, no week at Disney World, and even your mother doesn’t really want to see you. So where can you go? Here are a few ideas:
Around the Corner
Yes, there is a world beyond your refrigerator, beyond your daily Zoom conference with co-workers who all want to know if you can recommend a good series on Netflix, even beyond the far reaches of your driveway. If you stand on the sidewalk in front of your house you can see all the way to the corner of your block. You’ve seen many of your neighbors walking their dogs there and then disappearing. Often their disappearances are followed by wild barking. What’s really going on? Be adventurous and find out for yourself. Strap on your mask and gloves and explore the far reaches of your street, go around the corner, maybe all the way around the block. If you’re lucky you may even get to see some dogs sniff each other (from at least six feet apart.)
Camping Out (in your backyard)
You love the great outdoors and there’s nothing like sleeping out under the stars to work up a great appetite. Unfortunately with travel bans and campsites closed in most states, here is a better option: Set up camp in your backyard. Remember how much fun this was when you were a kid and your mom and dad wanted to have a night in the house alone and not have you or your brother barging in in the middle of — “Oh my god, what is Dad doing to Mom!” Recreate that special feeling by sleeping out next to the bird feeder. Enjoy the freedom of peeing behind the garage. Cook up one of those freeze dried dinners that you’ve been stockpiling over an open fire, or use the conveniently provided campsite Weber grill, crack open a cold one, and enjoy the quiet and seclusion of another night in quiet seclusion.
The Gas Station
It’s been quite a while since you’ve been to the gas station. Lately, even if you don’t have a plug-in hybrid, you’ve still been getting about 30 days to a gallon of gas. Because there’s almost nowhere to go. But what would a vacation be without a pit stop at your local GasTown? Even if you don’t need any gas you can still check your tire pressure, your oil, clean your windows, and maybe even run inside for a candy bar and a bag of fried pork rinds. But who are all these other people pumping gas and where are they all going? Do they know something you don’t? Maybe you should follow one of them and they’ll take you to a secret place where people are frolicking, and laughing, sunbathing, and splashing in the water. Or else they’ll get creeped out that you keep following them and call the cops to come and get you. Either way you’ll get to go someplace that you never expected to be.
Deep Dive in the Elevator
For many of you who live in apartment buildings the elevator has been number one on your places to avoid list. The chance of running into other building residents and having to be in a confined space with them for even two or three floors (holding your breath) or worse 10 or more floors is an unimaginable horror. And god knows who has touched those buttons and whether or not they were wearing protection. But summer is time for a change of pace and with proper preparation you can enjoy this trip, and stay safe. Instead of having to climb up and down nine flights of stairs every time you need to walk the dog, imagine the convenience and simplicity of rocketing up and down in forbidden fashion. Simply don your full wet suit, scuba mask, and oxygen tank and take the plunge. Added benefit, once out on the street you can walk anywhere you want without fearing contact with strangers as they will likely give you a wide berth, often even crossing to the other side of the street. After your trip simply go to your shower for a thorough cleansing before removing your suit and you’ll be ready for your next exotic trip. Maybe the Laundromat?