Erin's Journals

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Just a thought… It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled. [Mark Twain]

Hello from self-imposed isolation. I’m fine, I’ve just got a chest cold – nothing more, so I’m staying home. Where I caught this, I don’t know, but I’m doing my level best to make sure it doesn’t spread to someone whose immune system is compromised.

I realize I’m fortunate: I can afford to stay in and not miss work, obligations, etc.. Even with my somewhat froggy voice, I can pull off some auditions; as I knew would happen, I landed a job this week for a PBS documentary airing in Kentucky.

Fortunately, we were able to pull a few digital rabbits out of our hats and Rob and I made my voice match the pitch and sound of my original audition done last week, and it worked. But I KNEW I’d land a job as soon as this thing hit my lungs!

I’m one of the lucky ones. I haven’t got a fever and am doubtful there would be any thermometers to be found at the local Walgreens anyway. There’s always the pool thermometer, but where it would go would probably hurt. A lot.

I’m just fine. But here we are in California, which has declared a state of emergency, and in Coachella Valley, where the world-famous Coachella music festival has been postponed for six months or so.

The economic fallout from all of these cancellations has to be almost incalculable, and my heart goes out to those small business people who rely on mega events to make their annual budgets. This is a hard one on so many, no matter how you look at it.

There are the WAY bigger-picture losers, too. The cruise lines (yes, ours is still on for the fall and is fielding calls and talking to travelers daily), the airlines and myriad other businesses dependent upon groups and crowds – the very things we’re supposed to avoid during a pandemic – are doing the best they can.

It’s hard not to be furious about the massive mishandling of COVID-19 (not the Wuhan virus or WuFlu or Chinese flu or any of the other dog-whistle names the racists are trying to put on it to stoke up more xenophobia) here in the United States.

A man who lies about the smallest and most easily verifiable things (crowd sizes, maps and weather) has all of his Faux-viewing followers believing that it’s just a hoax cooked up by the Democrats to make him look bad. I grieve for the loved ones of seniors who refuse to listen to warnings and advice that could help them stay healthy. And for the innocents around them who could catch what they’re spewing – and I don’t just mean misinformation.

Fortunately, my own father – at nearly 87 and in the bull’s-eye of the virus’ target demographic – is not one of those. But his gal pal is. When this sweet, educated woman wants to put on FOX in the evening, he picks up his phone and cane and gently says he’s going back to his room. (GO DAD!)

My take is that she is too kindhearted to believe that she could be lied to again and again by this addled reality-tv host, and that anything she sees on that propaganda-laden dumpster fire of a netquirk is simply messaging from, or for, Dear Leader.

I remember when my grandmother would talk about stories she believed that had been written in the National Enquirer, and we’d tell her they weren’t true. She’d ask, “How could they print it, then?” Ah, yes, simpler times, and ones that continue for those who swallow every story they see on Facebook or social media – hoax, lyin’ and stinker.

But now things are getting real, and fast: the NBA has suspended its season after a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus. Beloved movie icon Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, both of whom are medically compromised (he has Type-2 diabetes, she is a breast cancer survivor), have tested positive while in Australia for a movie shoot.

The pandemic is as real as the experts predicted – weeks ago. People, including many in the US government chose months ago not to believe or reveal the facts as they were presenting themselves, day by day.

Last night, after a 45-minute wait (followed by being disconnected) and then another 75-minute wait, we were finally able to change our WestJet flights and make plans to come home next week. While WestJet did waive our rebooking fee, we did end up having to pay several hundred dollars more on the new seat rates. Ouch.

But here’s why it’s worth it: we don’t want to be here if the disease gets even more rampant and the testing still isn’t being done. I’d rather be sick at home than in a foreign country, and heaven knows Trump could panic and decide more borders have to be shut. After all, he did remind everyone last night that the virus is “foreign.”

That speech from the Oval Office was it for me, and that’s when we decided to come home a month early. He knows so little and cares even less, especially about anyone or anything except his puffy bottom line. How will the virus affect his “ratings?” How will he keep up the artificially bolstered, Obama-strengthened economy that took another dive in the moments after his speech?

If you were up to watch the aftermath on TV, or read about it today, you’ll know that a number of clarifications had to be made about those few minutes of awkward reading, having to do with travel and product bans.

There’s been a lot of talk about travel from Europe being banned, except from the UK. Why the UK, people wondered? Well, a quick check online shows three reasons, and they even have names: Doonbeg, Turnberry and Aberdeen. Three Trump-branded resorts in Ireland and Scotland. Don’t you worry about the First Grifters – they’ll be fine and you can take that to bank. 

Just please, not if you’re sick.

Try to do everything you can to stay home and keep yourself and your loved ones from catching COVID-19 or anything else, for that matter. I’ll say it again for the people in the back, the ones who perhaps did not hear the announcement from the coronavirus expert and insist it’s no worse than the regular flu that kills thousands every year.

This from the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and adviser to SIX previous presidents, Dr. Anthony Fauci: “It’s ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu.”

It’s not “just the flu.” Keep that flat-earth, climate-change-denying garbage out of my timelime. And if you don’t agree with me, come on over. I have a pool thermometer I’m happy to share with you, but it won’t be pleasant.

I’ll be back with you Monday. And again, except for my comfortable pajama-rant-pants, I’m fine. I hope you are, too.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, March 12, 2020