After reading yesterday’s news that toilet paper is selling out in America, that Europe is gripped in a panic so severe the entirety of northern Italy has been completely walled off all over a disease manufactured in a Chinese factory, working just as well as other things manufacturers in Chinese factories, I knew I had to take my seven-year-old daughter to Ye Olde World and at once.
There was no other option. We needed to shred this Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse in a place actually fun as opposed to San Francisco or Washington D.C. or Wuhan.
The price for hand sanitizer may be through the roof. The price for direct flights to Paris decidedly not.
We drove to LAX too early, as the I feared mass flight cancelation. The Bradley International Terminal was save random Koreans in surgical masks and a smattering of Western Europeans also wearing surgical masks but extremely self-consciously.
Since I am a surfer, I booked us on Air Tahiti Nui. The pastel, sexually ambiguous carrier of our dreams
The flight itself was uneventful. Daughter slept. I wept rolling tears while watching the World War II film Midway starring Woody Harrelson, Ragnar Lodbrok’s eldest son and Joe Jonas who delivered the stirring line, “Who knows how we’re gonna die so might as well not care.”
Maybe it was Nick Jonas but, in any case, true. Except I know how I’m not going to die.
Exactly like I know how a Huawei dishwasher will crap out in 1.5 years.
“Northern Italy has been completely walled off…” I tell my daughter after we clear customs at Charles de Gaulle, catch a cab then stroll the directly to The Louvre all jet-lagged while a cold grey sky begins to spit. “We used to be brave, damn it. When we got smacked by foreigners from the East we used to smack back.”
“Did you drink beer on the plane?” She asks.
“I drank inspiration.” I holler.
“Never mind about that. I can’t imagine there are any Chinese left in Paris but we need to keep those northern Italians out. Them and their Coronaviruses. This is our chance to not lose our minds alongside the rest of the world but pretend we’re Paris locals. It’s the best thing surfers do, claim a strip of beach as theirs, however dubious the claim, and scare everyone else away. If you see a northern Italian you must find a rock and throw it while shouting whatever French you’ve got. ‘Oui merci beaucoup’ or some such.”
“How will I know northern Italians?”
“They wear Prada, Valentino, Miu Miu, Armani, Missoni and drive Fiats”
Localism really is a thing surfers understand and employ better than all comers. A gift I can give my daughter alongside anything she chooses to be in this life.
We walk up to the glass pyramid with only ten other confused people around but a sign reads: To prevent the spread of Covid-19 the Musée du Louvre is seeking to limit its attendance. Only visitors already in possession of an e-ticketwill be permitted to enter the Museum.
Well that’s lame.
A rock whizzes past my ear and spin around. My daughter is standing there wearing a new violet beret.
“You’re wearing Moncler…” she says, nonplussed.
She’s right. Fine form and a quick study.
More as the story develops.