Thanks to Covid-19, Carolyn and I hadn’t seen our eldest son Seth in more than two-and-a-half years. Despite Omicron, we flew to the Seattle area to visit. There’s a lesson here.

We all took precautions, isolating ourselves before the trip. Seth works from home for a major video game company. Carolyn and I avoided other people. We all tested negative the day before our flight.

Holiday air travel had been crazy. We hoped that by departing on January 6, the situation would calm. It did. Our United flight left on time. We cabbed from SeaTac to the Thompson Seattle hotel. Plenty of rooms available. Ours had a great view of Elliot Bay. At night, the Ferris wheel, ferries, ships and Seattle’s NFL football stadium all lit up.

Staying one block from the Pike Place market, we played tourist. Longtime San Franciscans, we haven’t been to Fisherman’s Wharf in years. But when in Rome. We lunched at a place serving fish and chips. It can be tough finding a restaurant that isn’t heavy on shellfish, since we don’t eat traif. We enjoyed the meal. Then we toured the market and walked along the waterfront. We had a fabulous dinner then breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant.

Seth picked us up the next day. He set up his apartment’s guest bedroom, which we found very comfortable. Staying there gave us ample time for cooking together, walking around the Ten Trails development in Black Diamond—a former coal town an hour from downtown Seattle—hiking in (very) nearby wooded parks and engaging in long talks.

Yes, it rained. But— We enjoyed dry weather Saturday through Monday. In fact, Saturday offered a clear blue sky Seth hadn’t seen since he arrived in the area the day after Thanksgiving. Our walk around Ten Trails offered a striking view of snow-covered Mount Rainier (14,411 feet). The Pacific Northwest is as beautiful as it is wet—beautiful because it’s so wet.

As to cooking, Carolyn made fabulous blueberry scones for lunch on Saturday. I scrambled eggs—particularly fluffy and delicious thanks to a tip from The New York Times. Re dinners, we had Thai food delivered Friday night and followed that with Seth’s pot roast then Carolyn’s short ribs with leaks and pasta. Belly busters? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

Tuesday, we took Lyft to a Denny’s by SeaTac and breakfasted with our friend Kay. We had time to kill at the airport—empty when we arrived—and took advantage of it, getting in a nice walk. Carolyn did some shopping. We took off on time, although it’s possible we were delayed a few minutes by an FAA ground hold after North Korea launched a missile towards Japan.

Wednesday, we avoided exposing anyone to us—though I doubt we picked up the virus—by having groceries delivered. We’ll isolate at home, go on walks with masks in hand and take home tests Friday and Sunday.

I mentioned a lesson. Perhaps two apply. 

First, life needs to be lived during Covid. Precautions can help people go places and do things. Second, any undertaking requires a bit of luck. Given uncrowded airports, on-time flights and few customers at restaurants, we had it. 

In a world of risks, luck matters. We can also make our own.

Enjoy a great and timely read with my novel 2084. Order in softcover or e-book from or your favorite bookstore.

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  1. David Newman on January 15, 2022 at 6:46 am

    Travel and luck, indeed. Ellen and I are in Oaxaca, nearing the end of our photo workshop. Some really nice people from all over the country. Everyone has been having a great time. And then this morning, the day the people who are traveling back to the US tomorrow need to get tested, one person tested positive. The group later told everyone to test — we came back negative — but it was a reminder, if one was needed, that reality can intrude. On the other hand, with all of the background worry about Covid, We’re glad we came, glad we revisited a city we love, and glad we met some new friends. So I agree — live life and make as much of your own luck and you can. And a wise person’s advice — luck is the residue of preparation.

    • David Perlstein on January 15, 2022 at 8:05 am

      Glad the trip went well, David, and that you and Ellen are healthy. We took an at-home test this morning and were both negative.

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