The speed limit in Wellington varies from 30 kilometers per hour to 100 kilometers per hour, depending on if you are on a residential street or a highway.
I spent all of March moving no faster than 8 KPH.
Not coincidentally, that was also the speed I had been moving in January and February, but for an entirely different reason: I ran over 80 kilometers the first 59 days of the year.
When we lived in Philly proper over a decade ago I walked everywhere. Even home from work several days a week. I never ran.
I walked everywhere and it felt like I was capable of everything. I walked and got promoted, walked and composed songs in my head, walked and wrote whole blog posts.
That’s why I went on my first five kilometer walk the first week in January while E and the kid were off camping. Not for some New Year’s Resolution. I walked because it was a lovely evening. I walked because I wanted to relocate that powerful creative space in my brain.
Walking was easy. Too easy. Not enough resistance for my body or my brain. Walking quickly turned to running, which quickly turned into the fastest I’d ever ran. Not fast for a real runner, but a high speed for me. Eight kilometers an hour.
For my brain it was slow motion. It was the most cumulative time I got to spend alone with my thoughts away from my family and the internet in a long time. I was getting faster and faster with every incremental 5K and the acceleration was starting to bleed into my home life.
I was ready for a big March full of projects.
Nothing in specific, mind you. It was more a general thrum of positive, productive energy waiting to be unleashed.
That was how I felt the morning of Monday, February 28th. It was a bright, sunny morning at the tail end of summer, and I was going to have some long-put-off minor dental work done at 9am. That doesn’t sound like a good time, but it was one of those things that I had worried over for so long that it felt like it had been permanently tattooed onto a checklist of looming anxieties tallied by my brain. Finally having it done was going to free up many brain circuits for my big March.
That was the morning I woke up to discover that the minor kid’s weekend cold had now spread to E, and that the two of them were in miserable shape. COVID cases were spiking in Wellington, and while the kid is a masking pro she had also plucked a loose tooth out of her mouth on Friday at school lunch just before this cold hit.
Did they have COVID? If they did, I probably shouldn’t go to the dentist to let them spelunk around in my oral cavity for several hours.
Ah, but here was the rub. New Zealand was rolling out Rapid Antigen Tests on March 1.
The next day.
But, due to the spike in cases, all of our ample two drive-up testing locations in the city were completely overwhelmed. They weren’t even doing the shove-the-q-tip-up-the-nose PCR tests anymore. They were just slinging some special pre-sale RATs into your car window and calling it a day.
That was the official testing recommendation of the NZ COVID hotline: getting some RATs slung at you. Otherwise, the official recommendation was to wait two days and then try to buy a RAT at retail. Except, not if you thought you might have COVID. In that case, just isolate.
That was okay. It was fine. I’m good in a crisis. It wasn’t any worse than a long-awaited dental procedure. I called the dentist to cancel on account of my potential COVID exposure, grabbed my phone, my wallet, and a mask, and leapt into the car wearing the same too-small t-shirt I had slept in. This didn’t need a big plan, a water bottle, or packing up my laptop. I’d drive up to the testing center, get some tests thrown in my window, and be back in an hour. Two, tops.
Had I over-thought, over-packed, and over-prepared, would things have gone any differently? Was I moving too fast in that moment? I had all of March to think about it, and I still can’t say for sure. [Read more…] about slow mo(nth)