Last Flight Out

By Christy Wiseman

Last Flight Out

 

“Bullshit” my son said when I called and told him the U.S. State Department had sent a note which said if we Americans wanted to go back to the states, to go IMMEDIATELY or to understand that we would need to stay in Mexico for an indeterminate amount of time. 

I had already changed my flight date from April 14th to March 25th.  This was March 20th.  Was it really necessary to change it again?  

Being an ex-pat, I have spent my winters in Mexico for the last 20 years.  I love Mexico and her people, but I am American, always and forever. The Coronavirus, swirled around us like a hungry, stalking tiger waiting for just the right moment to pounce.  Asian Americans started becoming the target for all too willing bigots to find a new target to hate and torment.

The truth, quite hidden from the American public, was that biological research had been done in Hunan province for many decades and only stopped after the SARS outbreak. Since that is where this new virulent outbreak began, it begs the question of whether or not biological research had resumed.  Was it possible that this virus began from someone who ate or had contact with a bat? Or was the truth far more sinister?  It certainly is true that many wild animals are killed there and sold as food for the general population.  

Mexico is totally unprepared for an outbreak of the proportions projected, but not to worry, their climate is warm, which this virus doesn’t like and virtually nobody is being tested so the numbers of those afflicted appear to be almost nonexistent. Very comforting, but inaccurate.

Needing not to panic the general public, the bat story was the story to promote as the cause of this quickly spreading flu type disease.  Disgusting story of course, but not diabolical and more to the point,, the disease would be seen as curable.  And then the numbers started increasing dramatically. The maps which had been in black and white began turning red. Some  people wanted the truth. Others of course were happy in their ignorance, especially it seems, if they did not see themselves in a vulnerable group. 

A “flu type disease” sounds so much more digestible than bio-terrorism.

Shades of the children’s story of the grasshopper and the ant struck me! To recount that story, the grasshopper wanted to sing and dance as though Winter would never come. The ant daily toiled in the sun, ever preparing, ever vigilant.  When quite predictably, the weather turned cold and the winter winds howled, the grasshopper went to the ant to beg for food. The ant, quite unimpressed, refused in a way that as a child I had found quite lacking in compassion. Now we have a similar situation. We were warned that we were to go IMMEDIATELY back to the states if we wanted to get back.  There were no words or expressions in that mandate like “soon” or “at your earliest convenience.”

“Well,” thought I, “do I want to be the grasshopper or the ant?”  I decided to be the ant and changed my flight one more time, to the next day, thinking I probably seemed a bit hysterical to my close friends who were in no such hurry.

I’m now on a flight to my home town where my son will meet me and we’ll go into self-isolation and “social distancing” for a couple weeks at the very least. Even so, there are no guarantees. But I’m with family, in my own country, which to me makes all the difference.

The flight attendant told me that the borders will be closed tomorrow. The Guadalajara airport like many others around the world will shut down as well. Unlike the ant, I feel very sorry for those left behind, who planned to leave, as this, it turns out, was the last flight out.

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