Waiting #SOL22 19/31

We are sitting in our car – a minivan, naturally – at a rest stop in the middle of Pennsylvania. It’s beautiful here: a large lawn, squishy from rain and melt, surrounded by trees and sheltered from the highway. Picnic tables dot the slight slope; there’s a good rock for climbing; people are walking their dogs. The weather is perfect, too: sunny with a cool breeze.

I’ve even taken a nice walk because we’ve been sitting here for an hour. Waiting. To return to Canada, we need a negative covid test. We tried to book one at Walgreens but ran into trouble. CVS has tests but not for border crossing. We had assumed that at this point in the pandemic, testing would be easy to find. Apparently, we were wrong. For a few minutes we were stumped, then, delighted with our cleverness, we booked a video test. All we would need to do was buy our own tests and someone would watch our test via video. Perfect! (Plus we got to make jokes about how one advertises for this particular job: would you like to spend the day looking up people’s nostrils? Join our team!)

But here we are. Our drive home is looong. We were on the road day all day yesterday and had planned to be home early afternoon today. We did NOT plan to spend over an hour at a rest area in Pennsylvania – even a nice rest area.

I’ve called the testing service. Their phone lines were jammed, the poor receptionist audibly harried when she said “15 or 20 minutes” about 30 minutes ago.

And so we are waiting, knowing that more time here is more time before we’re home. And I thought I was writing this to complain bitterly, but now that I’ve laid it all out, I realize that no one is grumbling or whining; no one is grumpily sniping at someone who is simply nearby; no one is even generally harrumphing. The kids have (grudgingly) taken a walk; I’ve been knitting and writing; we’ve discussed the iconography of the US one dollar bill (not sure how that happened, but here we are). I tell my students all the time that one reason to write is to straighten out our thoughts, to find out what we’re really thinking. And that is what just happened: I think I’m writing to say that if I have to wait, I’m happy to wait with these people in this space. And that waiting really isn’t the worst thing, even though we are all a little annoyed. After all, there’s the sun and the trees and these people whom I love. And that feels like a lot.

(I still hope the testing site calls soon.)

Update: call ended; all covid tests are negative. We’re on our way home!

19 thoughts on “Waiting #SOL22 19/31

  1. Being a Pennsylvania native, I am glad you had a pleasant rest stop experience. I had never heard of video testing, but I will tuck that away in case I need it in the future. Safe travels.

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  2. “I’m happy to wait with these people in this space” speaks of love and mindfulness, not letting things you can’t control to control you and focusing on what is right here and now. I am glad you got the results and are able to go home.

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  3. Loved this line: “one reason to write is to straighten out our thoughts, to find out what we’re really thinking” because I say that all the time! Thinking, speaking spontaneously, and writing are ALL forms of composing. Students think they have to know what they know and think to start writing it. NO! Just write and then we’ll use what’s on the page to figure out some kind of more formal way to say it (if needed, depending on the purpose and audience, of course). And I’m so happy for you all that though the rest stop was generative of good writing for you, you are headed home!

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  4. I love this piece. You certainly when from wriggly to straight. I would love to be in Pennsylvania today, but not waiting for testing! I’d have been waiting in a Wawa parking lot though. :). Were you on the Turnpike headed toward NY?

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    1. We were on I-81. Luckily, it was nice and warm in PA. Now we’re home and, while it’s definitely warmer than it was when we left, it is not nearly as warm as South Carolina.

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  5. Covid protocols are stressful. Glad it all worked out. We’re at the airport awaiting our flight, and my stomach is in knots after the Delta attendant told me we need the EU certificates, which I think we have via the Verifly app, which Viking had us download and complete to get a bar code. I told Ken if we’re not allowed on the plane we’re going to California.

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  6. I prefer my job description to the one your family invented…but then again, mine might include getting sneezed on or having a kindergartener wipe his nose on my pant leg. Not so much better. Glad you passed your tests without having to know the “average air speed velocity of the laden swallow.”

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  7. Thanks for letting us join you while you waited. I learned something new, you sounded pretty chill so I felt pretty chill; it all turned out well. Great fixings for a satisfying slice.

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  8. Writing to make sense of your thoughts! Love it and your reflection. So many hurdles… glad you made the best of it and got on your way. I hope you’re feeling reenergized heading back from your vacation.

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  9. Glad your tests were all negative so you could get home.
    Happy to hear your PA rest area experience was good. We’re pretty fortunate to have good rest areas along the Pennsy Pike. (Not sure how the rest of the state.)

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  10. “Apparently, we were wrong” would make a pretty decent tagline for this whole pandemic, don’t you think? Missteps notwithstanding, happy to hear you’re on your way again.

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  11. I love this slice – powerful in message and craft. I bet this will be a time you always remember and laugh about in the future. It seems these unplanned moments are the ones we always talk about. This line – one reason to write is to straighten out our thoughts, to find out what we’re really thinking – is one I will remember to share with students as well.

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