I remember it clearly. My dad came to pick me up at the Palm Springs International Airport two Christmases ago. It was December of 2020, and my first time on a plane since the pandemic shut everything down earlier that year. I had just spent the last five hours double-masked and dehydrated on the cross-country flight over from New Jersey. Everything about that once familiar journey was strange this time around, but I was wholly unprepared for what came next.
I exited the terminal and looked for my dad, who had just called to tell me he was parked out front. I looked to my left and to my right, but there were no signs of him. As I pulled out my phone to call him again, I saw an old, gray-haired fellow waving frantically at me from a few feet away. I looked around to see who this elderly man was before suddenly realizing he was waving at me. The old man was my dad. I just didn’t recognize him with his face mask on and his snowcapped head.