One Year On

Last night I dreamed of drinking wine with Marnie.

One year ago today I was in Los Angeles to do some work for an organization that funded most of my travel expenses. I was flying in the first class upgrade tier, staying at nice hotels, and driving fun rentals. It was my eighth or ninth trip to LA in a year (thus first class upgrade tier) and I was thoroughly enjoying my life.

Part of the joy of travel was visiting places where I had friends. And as an LA homer, I had a couple of friends in California. Serendipitously, Christine and Rich had flown from he bay area to San Diego to, in part, hang out with Marnie and Mark. These are top four friends and I was just a two-hour drive away. But I was busy and they were busy. And there were plenty of times in my lazy, selfish life where I would have just passed on a visit shorter than the drive because I would have just found something else to distract me and I would have obviously seen them all in the near future anyway. But after a little backing and forthing, we settled on a very short window of opportunity.

I would drive down after working, have dinner with them, a drink, spend the night at, drive back to LA in the morning. And that is exactly what I did, in afternoon traffic. I arrived pretty late for dinner but they hung out and had food waiting for me (stuff friends do). After authentic Mexican dinner we all went to a piano bar for cocktails and convo. I don’t think we even broached coronavirus during this very short visit. Rich and I went for one of our famous middlespace walks and we just went to bed. I woke early, kissed them goodbye and drove back. That's it.


And I will forever be grateful I did. It’s been a full year since I've been back or seen these folks.

Before that trip to LA, there was some talk about a coming virus. But we’d all heard it before; a foreign virus was going to not only disrupt our lives, but was going to slaughter hundreds of thousands in the US. None of us were buying the hype. I do remember joking with a colleague that we’d have to work in hazmat suits in LA.

There were hints of things to come. The two people in Whole Foods with masks but that’s not unusual in Los Angeles. There was the one local staffer at the place I was working with a mask. We crowed around the bar and ignored news of the coming virus. And there was the one woman two rows in front of me scrubbing the hell out of her seat with disinfectant wipes but I just sorted her into my cognitive crazy bin.

I could go on and on. March 2, 2020 was the last time I flew anywhere. I really miss travel. But most of all I miss my friends. I don’t have a lot of ‘em.

One year ago: