Monday, April 20, 2020

Tucson, AZ: COVID-19 Unfolding, Part 14: Plans --> Pouf!

Dandelion seed head. Source: Wikimedia. Photo credit: Greg Hume

My original plan was to leave Tucson at the end of this month - the end of April.

My original plans for this summer were grand!
  • A 20-year commemorative road trip to Alaska.
  • A road trip with my mom. 
  • A week's trip each with my youngest descendants, one of which is to Washington, D.C.
  • A circuitous recon romp through spots in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi to scope out potential spots for my next year-in-residence. 
  • Leisurely visits with friends in New Mexico. 

My original plans are ....... pouf! Scatter shot like an aerosol blast of pollen from a dandelion seed head. Or virus.

As COVID's tendrils wickered through our populations, I thought, OK, maybe the Alaskan road trip isn't realistic. I'll be so ready to emerge from my cave, comfy though it is, wanting to trade hundreds of contemplative solo miles for social connections. Instead I thought: Maybe by summer there'll be an all-clear that will bring outrageously affordable plane fares to faraway places. Vietnam, maybe! South Korea! Romania! Maybe this was the year for Rwanda! A door of possibilities opened!!

Delaying Tucson departure

In March, I peered into the future and tried to guesstimate when COVID would peak in various locations. Realistically, I thought, things in my target recon trip aren't going to peak before mid-April, at least. So if I left in April as originally planned, I'd probably just have to find a new hidey-hole.

Several options presented themselves to me until I asked myself: Why leave a perfectly good hidey-hole where I've already got things set up for my comfort? And in which I am the queen of my own little queendom of one?

My landlords and I were mutually happy to extend the lease another month.

Now, where after Tucson?

 In the moment I'm writing this, I don't have a fucking clue.

At the end of May, I believe things will still be dicey in many locations. At the moment, I'm only thinking about the month of June.

My assumptions

  1. It will not be safe to take that trip to D.C. in June with my descendant. (BTW: He is graduating from high school this year. Only there won't be a graduation ceremony in May as originally planned. BTW: And one of my nieces cancelled her original wedding arrangements for June, postponing them til June 2021.)
  2. Wherever I decide to go, it will be east of Arizona, as this gets me closer to my year-in-residence candidates and other summer plans that might be possible to resuscitate. 
  3. There may still be restrictions on what we can do and where we can go, so choosing a destination because of, for example, its BC (Before COVID) music and dance scene is likely to disappoint.

Do I want to work in June? If yes:

Deal-breaker: Needs to be a place with reliable, fast internet access. Libraries (which usually have decent internet access) may still be closed in June in most communities, so that means that my home needs to have the requisite internet access. Given how "developed" and "First World" the US alleges to be, it's absurd how many US homes with internet have sucky internet or phone service. (What's that you say? You want an example for comparison? OK. Almost a DECADE ago, I had phone service in Ethiopia no matter where I was, from big city to a spot in the middle of nowheresville. And, oh yeah, they had solar phone chargers, too.)

Option 1: Rent a room from a friend eastward of Arizona who has fast, reliable internet. Not all of my delightful friends have the requisite internet capacity. Also, the friend-potential landlord needs to be willing to bring in a possible contaminator (me) to their infection-free bubble. And we each need to feel comfortable with the other's behaviors in mitigating infection threats when we leave the bubble.

Option 2: Motels might offer drastically-reduced rates to month-long guests such that I could afford to hang out in one.

Option 3: I can likely find an airbnb-like arrangement through friends-and-friends-of-friends (FFF?) and craigslist inquiries. (I say airbnb-like because I divorced actual airbnb.)

If I go the motel or airbnb-like route, I'm considering Livingston, Texas, in Polk County. This is my new hometown, after all. Living there for a month will build my domicile cred. I can get a library card, visit a dentist (if offices are open and feel safe to me), and use that as a base for day trips to two places on my recon route for year-in-residence candidates. 

Do I want to work in June? If no:

An attractive proposition is a camping spot in a place that isn't too hot, and which, ideally, has some amenities that are functioning, such as: at least a pit toilet, access to clean water, access to electricity for charging devices, and enough cellular bars to make phone calls possible.

Polk County, Texas, remains a possible candidate for this scenario. There are some nearby state and national park lands. Whether their campgrounds (and any of the campground amenities) will be open in June is a question mark.

Today, I know nothing about what June will bring. However, it is something to have the beginnings of an outline of a pre-plan.

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