Where’s Steph: COVID Update

Maintaining social distance on a bike. Thanks for the photo, Gus!

Strange days are here.

I’m not here to repeat the news, but in light of the global pandemic I’m postponing my overland riding plans this spring.

For a while, I desperately held onto hope that the outbreak would even out in time for my return flight to Europe, but as the weeks unfolded it quickly became clear the pandemic would have serious, long-lasting worldwide repercussions. Cases were growing exponentially, borders were closing, non-essential travel was strongly discouraged. Entire cities were going into mandatory lockdown, stay-at-home memes took over my media feed. When TAP emailed to alert me that my flight to Lisbon was canceled, it was time. I reluctantly shelved my Europe and Morocco plans.

I’m in good health and not considered at-risk, but I certainly don’t want to become a vector of transmission.

Massachusetts isn’t on lockdown yet, so going for a ride is a nice way to get outside and see people while keeping a healthy distance. If only the weather would catch up, I was frozen.

If the tragic death of a dear friend hadn’t brought me back to Boston early, I could have still been in Hong Kong or Thailand. To think, I could have been in lockdown with my parents, trying to refrain from acts of violence while shut in with their political rhetoric! All joking aside, I’m glad they’re in Hong Kong, with a strong healthcare system that has experience handling outbreaks.

So, it looks like I’ll be sticking around Boston for the foreseeable future.

Would I have picked another place to shelter? I don’t know, maybe. Wherever I posted up, I’d find a place, sort our visas if needed, figure it out. You kind of have to. The only direction to move is forward.

We don’t know how long this new normal will last, but I’m settling in for a long haul. Boston is not my favorite and healthcare in the US is deeply flawed, but I’m thankful to be near Fred.

Gatherings of 10 or more may be closed, but the Lodge is still open. Fred and I are getting the newest member of the family up to speed, a 1980 Serveta Li150 Special. Mostly Fred. I mostly stand around 6ft from everything and complain about the cold.

For better or for worse, my daily life isn’t much disrupted. I’ve worked location-independent for the vast majority of my career. I spend a lot of time at ‘home’ wherever that may be and for however long. I know how to stretch a pantry in lean times and cook and eat at home to save money, and now that the gyms are closed I’ve returned to home fitness as well. I probably could have walked through my day like Shaun at the beginning of Shaun of the Dead without realizing anything was different.

Due to gym closures, Fred agreed to an exercise bike. I put some moto stickers on it so that it would feel like part of the family and the other bikes would accept it.

It’s odd to realize the solitary nature of my professional life already looked a lot like social distancing before it became a necessary practice. As my agent pointed out, “You already have all the coping mechanisms.”

I feel bad for all the people working from home in the kitchen or closet, without daycare for their kids. My studio in Cambridge is pretty plush. I even hang out and do pull-ups on the climbing grips. STUDIO FLEX.

Now, Fred works beside me. I’ve been chatting and checking in with friends and family around the world, and there’s an abundance of live-streams directly to devices as more people take to socializing online. If there’s a silver lining, it’s this new level of connectivity that spans distance and time zones, and I treasure it.

Speaking of Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost did a parody of The Plan!
“Do not go to the Winchester.”

Now may not the time for extended overland travel, but it’s a pretty good time to catch up on writing blog posts! There are several in the works, stay tuned.

And maybe when the curve has flattened a bit, I’ll take the BMW R65 for a ride across the US until international borders to open up again. I do miss having a bike of my own on the West Coast.

Until then, thank your healthcare workers and delivery drivers, and in the words of Simon and Nick, “Stay home, have a cup of tea, and wait for this all to blow over.”

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