Dear Virus, I'm Not Crying, You Are!
Updated: Nov 2, 2020
We drove my mom to the airport last night, so she could travel back to the Pacific Northwest. She has some stuff she needs to take care of, stuff like a geriatric cat and rejoining the rest of the family who still live in the Portland-Vancouver area. She's a beautiful and vibrant woman, my mom, but she has lung issues, and so I worry about her. I know how you are with the respiratory system, Virus, and she already suffers shortness of breath and has difficulty breathing without you making things worse.
We had to drive over to Kona because her flight out of Hilo was cancelled and rescheduled, twice, and then they cancelled again. The airline didn't bring back the flight and might not ever. Airlines are cancelling routes left and right. So my mother had to rebook on another airline, which required us to drive over Saddle Road, the road that runs East to West along the wide belly of our island between Mauna Loa, one of the largest volcanoes on earth, and her sister Mauna Kea, the white beauty.
Saddle Road is usually a nice drive, but not when you're dropping off your mother on the other end of it. The only good reason to drive The Saddle at night is for stargazing at the Maunakea Visitors Station. But you know what? You can't go there right now. They've suspended operations "in response to the COVID-19 situation." Is that what you are, Virus? A situation?
We pulled up to the Kona International Airport, a cute group of little hut-style buildings. KOA, the airport code for Kona, serves Western Hawaii Island, the leeward side of our island... and sometimes it serves people who have to travel from the windward side because you, Virus, have screwed up everything, including travel plans.
Everyone at the airport was in masks, of course they were. But it was scary, knowing my mother would be on a plane and in such close proximity to people who use protective face masks to varying degrees of effectiveness. The damn thing goes over your mouth and nose, folks. It's not an ascot or a chin warmer!
Saying goodbye to my mom. Hugging her at the TSA line. Worried but trying to put on a brave face. Praying for my mother's safety and for the safety of others. Trying, not so successfully, to stuff down my rage and the anger I have towards the president and VEEP who seldom wear masks, and in doing so, give others a false sense of security about you, Virus. Yes, by all means, we should take important medical advice from the guy who stared openly at an eclipse after being warned not to. Lookie, lookie! Look at my pictures, the very best pictures. Look how I point at the sun. Look how I make decisions that fly in the face of science and reasonable thought. Notice me! Witness how little I care about endangering the lives of others.
It's much easier to blame you, Virus, because everyone hates you. They might not fear you, as they probably should, but they hate you. Should we live our lives in fear? I didn't say that. But we should be smart. We should be smart for ourselves and others. We should use smart precautions, precautions like washing our hands and wearing face masks the right way.
So many things I want to say to you right now, Virus, as I sit here, waiting for news of my mother, waiting and hoping that she will stay healthy in the Pacific Northwest, an area of the country you have scorched in your wake. There are so many things I'd like to say to you right now, but all of them are swear words of Anglo-Saxon origin.
Not so warmly yours,