Peter William Lambos is a huge silver lining guy. I look for them everywhere, and though they are harder to find in certain aspects of life, they are always there — and I do my best to seek them out when things seem all doom and gloom.
It’s hard, however, to have any positive feelings when contracting Covid-19; that goes double when on a boys’ vacation to New Mexico. Unfortunately, that scenario came to light last week.
The trip out west was months in the making. Six close buddies from college and I carved out a week to commit to a vacation on a cattle ranch two hours north of Albuquerque, in a town called El Rito, where the population of our house rivaled the entire town.
Our Airbnb was set in a desert valley with three mountain ranges surrounding us. No cell service, no general store within 30 minutes of driving, and coffee with cows in the morning — total serenity. The seven of us had a week to enjoy New Mexico and get in all the vacation things we hoped for: skiing, golfing, spa day, a trip to Santa Fe and some hikes mixed in.
And then, fringe-guy covid butted in and joined the party.
We arrived in New Mexico on the morning of March 10; by the time we got to our Airbnb that night, the first lad fell ill. He recovered well the next day, but by Sunday, two more of us got the covid nasties. I was one of those Sunday sicklings, coming down with a fever, body aches, sore throat, and chills. By Monday at noon, my symptoms dissipated; the other buddy who got sick along with me was fine as well. If we were not vaccinated and boosted, it would have a been a world of misery that lasted much longer than 24 hours.
By Monday night, another friend was ravaged by coughing and phlegm. It was time for a covid test. The guy who got sick alongside me decided to test — and whaddya know, positive.
Things hit the proverbial fan.
Calls to the CDC hotline soon commenced on phones other than mine. It was Monday night; we all had flights on Thursday to go home.
We faced a nasty scenario made worse by being two time zones away from our homes. Our propositions: Stay in New Mexico, quarantine, and spend roughly $1,000+ shuffling flights, rental cars and adding on time at the Airbnb, or hope that we were OK to go home.
Thankfully, Thursday was 72 hours away. For me and the other Sunday sick men, our symptoms were gone by Monday, and since our flight was Thursday night at 11:30 pm, the CDC informed us we were all right to travel and be in and around crowds, so long as we wore KN95 masks and were symptom-free for more than 72 hours. we were.
What would we have done if we had contracted Covid a day before our flights home? I take no shame in saying that none of us had the funds to spend what was needed to shuffle things around and extend our stay. We would have been forced to either go into credit-card debt or travel with covid, roll the dice, and hope we didn’t infect anyone.
It’s a circumstance that forces a choice between finances and morals: Put yourself and/or your family in a fiscal strait, or accept that one or more fellow travelers may contract covid from us with a number of physical consequences possibly following.
It didn’t come to that, but I’ll bet hundreds of people and families on vacation have been in that situation.
By the time Thursday’s flight home arrived, all who contracted covid were beyond the 72 hours of not having symptoms. And, we were lucky not only that we didn’t have life-threatening symptoms, but were far removed from society, were all together, and had enough food and snacks to sustain our quarantine movie marathon.
Our Airbnb had couches that you sink into and a DVD collection that made our millennial eyes sparkle. Hundreds of movies from the late 1990s and early and mid-2000s lined the shelves below the TV. For the time we were quarantined, we hit all of the classics we could — “Mission Impossible,” “The Matrix,” “The Patriot,” “Blade,” “The Last Samurai” and even the two live-action Scooby-Doo movies. Movie marathons were a must to keep us from going insane; visits to the cows helped too.
All in all, it was a great vacation. Even with covid — which I did not enjoy and do not recommend contracting — all the guys got to hang out with one another for a week that was capped off by movies that came out at a time when Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson were living legends.
As we get older and life goes on and getting together grows more difficult, it’s weeks like that in New Mexico that we’ll look back on with the utmost fondness. Even with fringe guy covid in attendance.
Pete Lambos is the sports editor at the times. Contact him at (315) 789-3333, ext. 241, or email@example.com