As we were sitting out on the Embarcadero this past Monday, on a warm and sunny day, my eyes drifted over the bay, and I realised that directly across from us was the Grand Princess, which had come in to the far end of Oakland docks that morning. The next day, as I emerged from the Trans-Bay tunnel on my usual BART ride, there it was again, looming high against the cranes and containers that usually make up the landscape there. The worldwide virus was suddenly very close to home.
The Grand Princess is the white hull directly behind the metal post. I hadn’t realised when I took this photo.
Viewed from the passing BART later in the week.
I had already started to resign myself to the possibility of my planned trip to England not happening; once I had allowed that into my mind, I relaxed around it, while still hoping that I would be able to go. The announcement of a travel ban on Wednesday made it seem like an imprudent thing to do; while the UK was not included in the ban, the chances of further restrictions being put into place became much more real.
As it was, I had been looking forward to the ten-hour overnight flight to London even less than usual. London itself does not seem any more hazardous a place to be than San Francisco, where the BART is emptier than usual, and I have been offering my elbow as a greeting, and washing my hands assiduously after being out in public. But there was the risk of unwittingly carrying an infection to my elderly parents, the risk of both the events I was going to be attending being canceled after I had already crossed the Atlantic, and of course the risk of not being able to make it back to San Francisco.
All being well – a bold statement in a time of pandemic – I will aim to go over later in the summer, though of course I will not have the opportunity to practise with Shohaku in London. I hear that he has been doing fine so far on his European tour, and the hope is to get him home safely.
I had also had my own brush with sickness – at the beginning of last week I began to feel that I might be catching something, just as a person I had spent time with came down with a bronchial virus (with no provision for being tested for the virus itself). Using my usual criteria – I did not feel well enough to undertake the journey to work – I took the day off, being grateful that I have sick pay in this instance and many unused hours accumulated. I felt better for the rest, and did some work, but while I never developed a fever, or a cough or a cold, my energy felt depleted, and I took naps on consecutive days, a real rarity for me. I felt fine for the roam on Sunday, and now I feel pretty much restored, but who knows what I actually had in my system.
So now I have the gift of unexpected free time. We have rain in the forecast – finally – so who knows how I will end up spending it. With no football to follow, it looks like I will be finishing off some of the many books I have on the go.