This Whole Corona Thing

A big cruise ship pulled into San Francisco Bay on Monday and docked over in the Port Of Oakland. It’s called ‘The Grand Princess’ but I’m thinking that at this point they should really just change the name to ‘The Corona Princess.’

I mean, seriously, her reputation is forever tarnished.

That ship will never again pull into a port and have people say, “Oh look, what a majestic, beautiful cruise ship!” NO, they will nudge each other and say, “Hey, isn’t that the virus ship? Remember, back in ’20 when all those people got sick and they had to be quarantined for weeks? EWWW! Why would anyone take a cruise on that? Or anything now?


I’ve actually seen that particular ship a number of times up close. In my job as a San Francisco tour guide we sometimes book cruise passengers on bus tours and pick them up right at the cruise terminal. They literally come strolling right down the gangplank and we load them up for a two-plus hour introductory tour of the city.

The Princess line seems to be the most frequent visitor to our port, with about three or four ships that come in for no more than an overnight stay. The Royal Princess is the only one I can remember the name of aside from the one mentioned above, the ‘virus ship,’ the Grand Princess.

Now that the ship is docked in the port of Oakland, they’re slowly off-loading the more than 3000 people who will be tested and subjected to further quarantine.

The Grand Princess

We’ve got a little quarantine going on ourselves here, as Dorian has agreed to stay indoors at least through the end of the month, a decision based on her precarious health history.

It’s just as well, since every meeting she had on her calendar was cancelled and even the social security office called to tell her not to come in to the scheduled appointment she has coming up, but instead, the representative will call her at her phone number on that day to conduct the interview.

Things are different. It’s weird. I went downtown today to get some groceries and there were about half the people on bustling Market Street as you’d expect for a nice weather Monday afternoon nearing rush hour.

There are A LOT of tech companies in this city, and all of the employees have been told to work from home if possible, and it shows. Near empty mass transit buses, barren streets, and a grimness that hangs over the city like the profoundly absent fog that we usually expect around this time of year.

I half-expected to see a grungy, unshaven Will Smith in shades stepping determinedly down the middle of the street while carrying a big stick with a huge nail in it.

I’ve never washed my hands so many times in my life, thinking all the while that it’s all for Dorian, because given our past history with any shared flu, she’d always get a lot sicker than I would. I could probably get through this corona thing, but her? Unlikely.

So, I wash, and I don’t touch, and I wipe, and I go about a very odd day wondering if that guy who just coughed on the bus is a carrier, and is he sufficiently far away, being seated so far in the back while I’m up front?

Today I got off a bus and saw a security guard standing across the street who sneezed big, RIGHT INTO HIS HAND. Then he rubbed both hands together and nonchalantly stuck them in his jacket pocket. I made a mental note not to shake hands with that guy, or go within 20 feet of him, or anything, really, like, EVER.

It was sooo gross, dude!

When I arrived home there was Dorian, lying on the futon tapping away on her laptop, and I thought of how precarious it all is. I realized how that ship moored over there across the bay reminds me of that, and how those people just wanted to sail to Hawaii and back on a big ol’ cruise ship, but they got stuck for weeks, because they’re fragile.

That’s the whole thing right there. As humans, we’re really fragile. Goddamn Jack LaLanne was fragile, he grew old and died of pneumonia. Jason Mimoa is fragile. Yeah, he’s a really handsome, sexy beast, but he’s still as frail as a lilly in a hail storm.

We humans are so friggin’ fragile we can all be brought down by a tiny bug that’s too small for our fragile human eyes to even see.

So what’s to be done? Well, not much but to follow the advice from the experts. Wash way more, touch way less, don’t panic and best of all, love a lot. Realize the fragility. Hope for the best and expect it, but embrace the worst if there’s nothing you can do about it.

An oft-quoted quip once favored by Dorian’s late grandmother, Peg, says, “This too shall pass.” We certainly hope so, Peg, but if not, put some tea on.

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