Covid Solo – Travel Journal
Nov 2021 – Been there. Done that.
Here’s a profound event that happened to me yesterday that I intended to document – and share with my staff or just me.
I had a woman staying in my basement apartment for 8 days as she drove from Portland to upstate NY. She never left the house or if needed something told us to leave it at edge of garage. Prior to her arrival she asked all kinds of red flag odd-duck questions we’ve never had before: Are there GFI outlets in water areas, do all windows open, and is there circulation in the bathroom (also our cleaning protocols). Felt odd, her staying under me as I never laid eyes on her or interacted, but was curious about her. She has a cool nomad self sufficient truck thinggee with solar exterior water heater.
She extended her stay through the office a couple of extra nights. Good sign.
Yesterday eve – her last eve at my house – I pulled up at dusk and saw her sitting on truck bed. I was so grateful for the opportunity to interact finally. I stopped the truck, jumped out and said, “Howdy neighbor! Finally we meet. How has your stay been? Are you comfy?” Timidly, sheepishly she quivered, “Not so great today. I just went out for a walk and just got bitten by a dog up that road. I’ve called the Sheriff Department”.
Bam. Didn’t know what to say next and without thinking, I said, “Do you need a hug?”
Bam. Silence. She thought and responded, “I’ve never wanted a hug so badly in my entire life…but I’m afraid of Covid.”
Her bite was nothing that worried me as it did her for rabies, but she was damaged by it. The sheriff came and was respectful of her fears and did a good job within his means.
We stood socially distanced in the carport for quite some time and shared some stories. She had moved to Portland – as a solo nomad – to force herself out of her introversion. She needed to interact. She craved to dance (to Blues) in the clubs. Then Covid hit and she retreated back to her nomad truck and has not had one personal interaction, one touch, one shared meal since March of 2020. She sobbed and said what she really needs is a bear hug that won’t stop. She’s crushingly lonely, I think she admitted aloud for the first time. Through our conversations I could read she is still terrified of the virus and I respect that. Yet I went on to tell her about how the first handshake and shared meal with a stranger affected me in Feb 2021 of this year. That the dancing, for me, had to resume or I would extinguish.
I couldn’t hug her, she didn’t want to go to the hospital for fear of………Covid.
“Can I hug you with some chicken noodle soup?”
“Oh please, yes.”
I grabbed my best homemade pottery, some homemade soup, bread and teas from the freezer and set them by the door for her.
“Here’s me hugging you. When you arrive at your family’s for Thanksgiving, go get those bear hugs.”
Since opening my apartment up to the general public there have not been that many who have enjoyed it in the way I hoped and how it had been occupied in the past by friends. It’s a place for hugs for those on journeys.