Just another risk to consider, along with whether I need those ski-pole-like sticks that older hikers use to keep their balance — not yet — or if we should cut our hike short because of the weather — we did, a good choice, since it began hailing, hard, two hours after we left the mountainside. And of course the most dangerous peril of all: driving to the trailhead.
Not to forget the newest, and therefore scariest, risk: COVID-19. Most hikers wore masks, even though we were outside and more than six feet apart, generally. Those who didn’t have masks would pull out the necks of their T-shirts and tuck their noses inside as we passed, almost as a form of greeting. I am fully vaccinated, so I wore my mask below my chin when nobody was around, slipping it into place as people approached. It seemed the polite thing to do, and I didn’t consider my personal freedom trod upon.
Back home, Lori Lightfoot announced Chicago will lead the charge returning to festivals, concerts and summertime fun. Will people show up? Of course we will. Dinners and music and trips give life the illusion of significance.
That’s why I raced to get my shots. We flew to Colorado, a few days before my wife’s “full immunity” kicked in, to help my mother through some minor surgery. Because of the timing, my wife initially decreed we would wear face shields on the plane. That was scary. Face shields strike me as something nurses wear in intensive care units. To wear one in an airport is a bridge too far, like putting on a welding mask to shake hands. But I was willing to humor her. Heck, I once took Metra downtown wearing a kilt, backwards. What is shame to me?
But the day before the flight, when she practiced putting on the face shield, it was murky—we had bought them online—and she abandoned the idea. I uttered a silent prayer of thanks.
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