Asymptomatic

There must be intelligent life down here

Fleeing COVID-19

There’s a lot going on right now. I’ve been focused on getting my blog back up and running the way I want, and it’s still not there yet, but at least I feel comfortable now making some updates. Frankly, I’ve needed an outlet for long-form writing for a while now, especially during this, and I’ve been considering this softare issue a blocker. Yeah, I know it looks like everything has been working all this time, and no, it hasn’t quite.

Two weeks ago, I was on a trip to Columbus for work. The Coronavirus had just peeked its head out in China (and also the US, although people seem to have forgotten or ignored that) and we were starting to talk about whether it was a good idea to travel or not.

On Thursday, we started sending people home with the tech on their desks. They literally loaded their monitors and keyboards into cardboard boxes, and in groups - so that we could have time between each group to get them back online and running with support from our IT department - we marched them out the loading dock into waiting shuttles to get them to their cars to head home. On Friday, the office was empty, except for me and a few key people.

After lunch on Friday I rented a car and drove 7 hours home. There were several odd things about this. First, I skipped out on my scheduled flight. I was scheduled to fly out of Columbus, make a stop in Charlotte, and come back through Philadelphia, where I’d pick up my car and drive home, probably arriving around 1am Saturday morning. I skipped that so I could dodge having to go through three airports. The Philly airport on the way to Columbus wasn’t as packed as usual, and everyone was a little tentative about being there. By the time Friday rolled around, I just didn’t want to do it.

The second thing that was odd about the car rental was the car that I had reserved on Thursday was not available. I had reserved a compact SUV, rather like what I drive at home. When I arrived at the rental place, they told me that in spite of planning for 22 rentals with the expected increased demand, they had requests for 48. There were only two vehicles left, and both were 4x4 trucks. I left the lot in a Ford F150.

I drove home. Traffic was thinner than normal, but not non-existant. I had to stop for breaks a couple of times at rest stops. They were virtually empty. The shops inside were closed. The bathrooms were out of towels, and hand dryers were blowing the liquid off of everyone’s hands all over the place.

I made it back to Philadelphia airport around 9pm. I dropped off my rental and loaded into a shuttle, which took me back to the terminal - its only stop. From there, outside, I waited for another shuttle to take me to the off-site lot where my car was. There were not a lot of people standing around, everyone seeming nervous.

I did eventually make it home. But during my long drive, I got word from work that someone at the office was in contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms, and I was in contact with that person, and so as releived as I was to be home, I was worried about spreading unseen germs to people in my house.

It’s been a week now.

I guess I’ll write somethings separate about some other things that have happened during that week.

About the Site

Hi! I'm Owen Winkler, and I write this drivel. This blog is about my own life and my random observations thereof. Sometimes I write about technical stuff here, but mostly that's at RedAlt. Please enjoy, or if not, click on my ads. Either is fine with me.