Friday5 for March 13: Social Distancing. Questions courtesy of Scrivener. Thank you!

1. In what ways have recent events altered your everyday life or your plans?

Leaving for San Diego for a cruise to Mexico in thirty minutes. Cruise ships are currently Public Enemy #1. If I'm not back in two weeks, I'll either be drifting along at sea with two thousand of my newest best friends under quarantine or flying home on Southwest Airlines. In the cargo hold.

2. Where’s a good place to dine out if you want to practice comfortable social distancing?

A picnic in the park. We're expecting snow.

3. How’s your mood lately?

Of course I'm concerned about everyone and their well-being. There was a young man going into the grocery store yesterday afternoon (I'd remembered Kewpie mayonnaise and Heinz 57 ketchup for my two o'clock in the morning snack on the cruise...



...but had forgotten the Green Goddess and bleu cheese salad dressings) and he was wiping the handle of his shopping cart with hand sanitizer and a paper towel. Prudent. Then there was a woman berating a clerk because the store was out of disinfecting wipes and facemasks. Not cool.

And since when does the Pick 'N' Save carry facemasks?

4. If you’re forced to isolate at home for a couple of weeks, what would be your primary source of entertainment?

Reading. Bought like a 500 terabyte SD card of memory for my tablet and downloaded the complete works of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Lady Murasaki (gonna try to slog through the entire The Tale Of Genji if it kills me), Joyce Cary, 小津 安二郎, Buster Keaton, SCANDAL and The Rolling Stones. So. Reading a n d movies a n d music.

And there is the companionship of my constant shadow, Myrtle, currently incarcerated at Miss Pickswinger's Elite Boarding School For Cats.

Optional Morning Aromatherapy Massage and afternoon Playtime 'N' Snacks, $10. Lil Myrtie — her "rap name" — is worth it. 'Cause she's my baby girl.

5. How do you think you’d be able to handle two weeks of isolation at home, assuming whoever you live with (if anyone) would do the same?

We have this thing called winter. Happens every year. After six months, people start getting cabin fever. I can do two weeks standing on my head.

So. ¡Adios, amoebas! Scheduled to return Saturday night / Sunday morning next week. Might be a little late for the Friday5. But honestly, my chances of being killed by Moby Dick on the whale watching tour or resisting the advances of a sidewalk vendor wanting the pretty americano lady to have her picture taken with the iguana are far greater than coronavirus.

Ya know, the last time something like this happened, I was on a cruise. Y2K. And look at the world-ending fiasco that turned out to be.

UPDATE: Received an email while out to dinner in San Diego. Holland America cancelled the cruise. Trying to get a flight home.

Only the Japanese government has it right. There is no cause to panic.

Personally, I think coronavirus is just like bird flu or swine flu or H1N1 flu or the influenza pandemics of 1917 - 18 that you should have learned about in history class. Typhoid Mary was the typhoid fever but close enough. Flu victims currently average eighty-one years of age. Worldwide. What does that tell you? So. The elderly and health-compromised are at risk. They are the ones we must protect. Not the entire population.


MS Oosterdam at dock on my way back to the airport. Photograph taken through the windshield of my taxicab at a stoplight.

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