USS Mercy leaves Port of LA
We watched her sail in and we watched her sail out. The USS Mercy Hospital Ship left Los Angeles today after almost seven weeks. I’m glad she was here, and I’m even happier to see that she is no longer needed.
When the Navy ship arrived March 24, California was in early pandemic panic. Five days earlier Governor Newsom had predicted 25 million Covid-19 cases in the state by May if aggressive measures were not taken. Instead, we are just shy of 75,000 confirmed cases today. Granted, aggressive measures were and are being taken, and that has undoubtedly saved many lives. Still, the hyperbole of Newsom’s prediction has helped fan the fires of virus disbelievers.
Better safe than sorry, sure. Almost everyone welcomed the Mercy as a symbol of hope and unity, of state and federal governments working together — well, except for the nutball train engineer who tried to ram it. This is an unfortunate byproduct of overheated rhetoric: conspiracy theorists will run the train of misinformation right off the track.
In the end the 1,500-bed life saver treated 77 patients. She was more of a tourist attraction than a facility. But we were honored to welcome her to San Pedro, and no offense sailors, but we hope we don’t have to see you again.
The USS Mercy passes through Angel’s Gate into LA.
Tomorrow I get to return to the place where I am literally in my element: the ocean. Los Angeles County beaches reopen for activities in the morning; I am grateful to the state, county and city for letting us see the light of day. I sincerely hope we don’t blow it; I’ll be social distancing and wearing my mask — when I’m not in/on the water, that is. I’ve been imagining tomorrow’s schedule for weeks:
7 am. Get up and take the dog for a nice long walk down at Cabrillo. Used to doing this at least twice every day, Alexander Hamilton has been perplexed why we have been walking every direction but the most obvious one — toward sea, sand, and sky — for the last two months. I suspect he will feel close to as much joy as I will when we stride past the beautiful mission-style beachhouse and say hello to the inner harbor.
8 am. Pull the kayaks down to the shore and paddle off. Waves and weather permitting, my husband and I plan to pack a lunch and spend a long day out on the water. We will be hundreds, if not thousands, of feet from other human beings, but hopefully not from the dolphins, seals, and maybe even whales. We may jump in and swim/snorkel. Bud will fish.
Sometime in the afternoon: Pull back ashore. Swim.
3ish: Reluctantly drag our butts back on land so the dog can get his exercise — at the beach again.
6 pm: Dinner.
8 pm: Evening walk on the beach. Who knows, maybe there will be bioluminescence?
Next day: Same thing all over again, but on the paddleboard.
The Argonaut, a weekly newspaper serving the west side of Los Angeles, asked to republish my Blue Wave blog post calling for open spaces to be, well, open. I updated and expanded it for them. Since press time, Los Angeles announced it would reopen most trails today (Saturday), and beaches might reopen mid-week — with most of the precautions and restrictions I suggest. Here in San Pedro though, many parks were still closed this morning, perhaps because some of them are run by the Port of Los Angeles; thanks Port for polluting our air and restricting our movement. Neither Mayor Garcetti nor our City Council representative Joe Buscaino have responded to my requests for explanation as to why so many of our neighborhood parks — which were always supposed to be open for exercise — have been closed.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about supporting small businesses and farms by shopping locally and via Farm Fresh to You delivery. Since then, I’ve found an incredible service by which I can do both — and get some of the best cookies ever. When Colossus Bakery opened last year in San Pedro, it was an instant hit, drawing early-morning lines for their breads and cappucinos. The business, run by a local couple, is now winning our hearts again with their delivery service. Not only can you order their country loafs and OG cookies (OG stands for Oh God! IMO); they also deliver boxes of fresh produce from CSA. The box is packed with veggies: last week, it was five kinds of lettuce, kale, chard, carrots, beets, squash, basil, and probably more things that I’m forgetting. My favorite was agretti, a veggie I hadn’t encountered before but which is delicious with eggs and pasta. I had so much food I shared it with four friends. Yes, you can have your cake and eat greens too!
This week Colossus will be open for pickup again for Mother’s Day. They have a special menu that includes their coffee drinks, and their barista is as talented as their baker. Our order is in because frankly, what else are we going to do for a pandemic holiday? Tip though: Order for a later pickup time to avoid the crowds; baker/owner Kristin told me everyone scheduled for 8 a.m.