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Two Months On The River, A Pandemic Migration Part I

That would be the two months of July and August 2020. The River is the Columbia at Portland, Oregon. And the Pandemic Migration is just that. It is why we are here, now, rather than here later, or never, or still in Tiburon, California. We all have our stories with this. Millions have unfortunate or tragic stories. Ours is not one of them and for that we have great gratitude.

I have not had a haircut in 6 months. I usually get one every 2 1/2 to 3 ½ months. The 70s are having a revival on top of my head. It looks ridiculous. I don’t care. It’s river time here and we are all isolated together, if that makes sense.

We loved our life at The Cove Apartments in Tiburon where we had moved after we sold our house in Novato. We downsized in style, paid too much rent in a housing market that was already too much, but we knew we would only be there for 2 years before we made a bigger move, probably outside of the Bay Area. We had access to two outdoor pools, an indoor saltwater pool, the hot tubs at each of them. And there was a gym, the gourmet kitchen, two story clubhouse with removable walls and indoor firepit, free coffee and tea, sunken TV room, community 42 foot sailboat, decks overlooking the marina where we had our kayaks, the community activities and entertainment. For those of us working from home (and no one had any idea how those ranks would swell soon), there was the free office space, with wi-fi and expresso, in the glass walled building overhanging the water of Richardson Bay. Enough? Well, there was also the private beach area with clear views of San Francisco. All in all, an embarrassment of amenities and privilege shared among many friends, new and old, including my beloved San Francisco Seals baseball team party when we celebrated our Bay Area world series championship.

We all know why it, why everything changed. All the amenities were shut down. Community is like any living organism, it needs food and the food of community is social interaction. The community began to quickly starve. No one came over to share…anything. We did not go…anywhere. Trapped in our not quite hermetically sealed small apartment, I swear I heard Aretha singing “Who’s Zoomin Who” as we excitedly did one Zoom cocktail meeting after another with friends each weekend. Funny, you drink just as much alcohol and regret it as much when socializing that way.

We realized the Pandemic would not go away quickly and it would be a year, maybe more before we shared with friends again. We would be isolated. So we left. We bugged out, we migrated to a much less expensive area (relatively) when we had a chance to rent a floating home twice the size of our apartment at less than half the price. Yes, twice, and half.

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