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The Empty Ocean Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

11 March 2020

This is what we saw out the window last night. An inflamed sky with a ribbon of gold on the horizon. But Saturday it wasn't just the sky that was different.

Sunset. Nikon D300 at f5.6, 1/60 second, ISO 400 and a 51mm equivalent focal length. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.

When we watched the sunset on Saturday we noticed rows of lights appear on the northern (or right most) part of the horizon. It was a ship. A cruise ship. The Grand Princess.

We confess to reading the cruise ship arrivals to know when they'll be sailing northward in the dark toward the Golden Gate, their decks all lit up. We get up before dawn just to watch them crawl along the coast.

We trace our interest back to A Thousand Clowns and Amarcord. Seeing a cruise ship on the ocean at night is right up there with flying through the dark all night to come across the miles and miles of street lights and homes and gas stations and mini malls and ballparks and parking lots to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

And then a more sobering thought occurred to us.

A thrill.

But it wasn't a thrill on Saturday night. Because, you know, it was the Grand Princess. The quarantined ship. Everyone confined to their cabins. Even the ones who didn't have balconies.

On Monday the ship docked in Oakland and over two days the passengers were escorted off the ship to ambulances, buses and planes to continue their quarantine.

We wish them well, of course. And then a more sobering thought occurred to us.

Under the freeways, on the sidewalks no one sees in postcards, in tents living in squalor are the homeless. About four times as many as those on the Grand Princess. And defenseless against coronavirus.

Wash your hands? Keep six feet away from others? Stay at home? If those are the rules, what chance do they have?

The late scramble to prevent the spread of this virus has included compensation for lost hourly wages so workers stay home, the elimination of copays to encourage medical care, the cancellation of any large gatherings to prevent exposure and more.

But if the virus attacks the homeless, it's hard to believe any of that would matter. Our neglect of their medical health will come back to haunt us.

We are all in the same boat, after all.

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