I’d ordered the horizontal stabilizer kit, the slats kit, and the flaperons kit from Zenith right before I drove out to Green Cove Springs to meet William Wynne.
I got an email from Zenith proclaiming my kits had been shipped and would arrive late March / early April. Then, on March 13th, Texas Governor Abbott declared a statewide health disaster, and on the 30th issued a de-facto stay-at-home order, indicating that the state would not open up until after May 4th. In my brain, pandemonium erupted.
A virus replicates. Unthinking. The replicating undead, wandering the earth like a scourge of zombies. Invisible particles unchecked by vaccine … but I was not thinking about disease, pestilence, or death. All likely. Rather I was thinking about my kit, trapped in San Antonio for over a month — a completely unacceptable certainty.
I made a frantic call to Estes in San Antonio: “Are you guys going to be open?”
Estes was shipping, and shipping was essential. San Antonio already had infections — people who’d come back from overseas, some from Wuhan; at first quarantined, one was then let out before final test results were in. That person immediately enjoyed a one day shopping spree — which through no fault of her own caused an entire mall to be shut down for a weekend of disinfecting.
San Antonio, roughly two and a half million people. I thought: Seriously, what’s the likelihood? All I had to do was drive into Estes and pick up my obviously essential goods.
Once at Estes it took about 45 minutes of standing around before I drove off with my crate. Signage on the front door: ONLY ONE person allowed inside office at a time. I peered in, hand over my eyes to shield the glare. No one in there but employees. But inside I got nervous viewing the warning signs and makeshift distance markings on the floor. No one had a mask on. I didn’t have a mask on. I felt the clerks eying me suspiciously. Their thoughts obvious: Was this guy carrying pestilence? I judiciously kept distance, but warehouse men came in and out, coughing, clearing their throats, laughing loudly. Briefly I imagined each open mouth like a venom bent on my destruction.
It took longer than I’d expected, but the nice folks did get it loaded into my trailer with a forklift:
No damage on the crate. The forklift operator said “What is that?” “The tail of an airplane.” That made no sense, and his puzzled face looked at me. “Here,” he said. “Sign right there.” I took his pen and signed the delivery release form. I cannot lie: Once in my car I was itching, like sharing a pen had doomed me to an early grave. My wife had supplied clorox wipes for such an eventuality. I didn’t even feel ridiculous wiping my hands, the steering wheel, my phone, the door handle, even my copy of the paperwork. Anything else that seemed contagious got cloroxed. Then the thrill hit me. I had PARTS!
35 minutes later I arrived home:
I figured I’d have all the components assembled by the end May — if I hadn’t gotten bitten by an invisible, potentially deadly zombie at the Estes terminal.