If you have never seen the 1959 movie On the Beach, this is probably not the time to watch it. After a global nuclear war, an American submarine surfaces and heads to Australia where the cloud of radiation circling the globe has not yet arrived. Australians must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months. Based on the book by Neville Shute, an English novelist and aeronautical engineer he also wrote A Town Like Alice. I have always loved the movie because it starred Gregory Peck as the submarine captain, with Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire (plays a serious scientist, not a dancer), and Tony Perkins (without the knife).
An unforgettable scene shows the streets of San Francisco deserted. Last night the PBS News Hour showed deserted streets in Paris, Rome, Venice, and Time Square reminding me of One the Beach. Peck and Gardner have great on-screen chemistry because they had a true-life steamy affair while filming the movie in Australia.
I have grown up in the era of fearing nuclear war practicing “duck and cover” under my elementary school desk. Since 9/11 we are bombarded by news reports on terrorism and possible dirty bombs – “If you see something say something”. But, I have refused to live in fear. I continued riding the Metro daily or city buses to get to my job in downtown Washington, D.C. Remember the news article that a 40 something single woman was more likely to be killed by terrorists than get married? I do.
Sure there are movies about plages and pandemics, but we didn’t really pay attention. Did we? Radiation and viruses don’t explode or make for great special effects of visual mayhem and destruction. The vacant streets of our cities today prove it is the things we can’t see we should fear. Billions of dollars spent on the military-industrial complex, and it is a natural unseen virus that has brought us to a stand-still. Don’t mess with Mother Nature.
How can I put into words my feelings, what we all are experiencing, and dreading? It was just a few months ago I was hanging with Michelle and Duane; and, sister Kerry and I were enjoying the beach together and planning trips. We were all living our lives looking forward to summer plans, travel, graduations, vacations, weddings, public parks, and swimming pools. Now we are anticipating funerals we may not be able to attend.
Yes, I am depressed! Aren’t we all?
Mom and Erv are locked down at Carolina Meadows retirement community. So far so good, except we cannot visit. My summer plans to travel to Ohio, Michigan, and Maine, gone. I spent a week making reservations and now I am spending time canceling and in some cases losing $10-$20 cancellation fees. Thankfully many campgrounds are giving full refunds because they too are closed. I hoped for at least another five years on the road, maybe more. Now, who Knows? I really am NOT YET ready to give up my traveling lifestyle. But what am I to do?
The Martin County Commission closed golf courses to non-residents last week. I am not a resident, but I am a snowbird and have a lease for the Venture III community where I have been since December. My favorite course has accepted my seasonal residence and allows me to play golf. Otherwise, I would go nuts. Golf courses are taking virus precautions, removing rakes from bunkers, singles in all carts, and turning the cup upside down so there is no need to pull the pin or touch surfaces. Golf is a game of social distancing, I prefer not to talk when I play, and I am always single.
Becky to the rescue! My eldest sister Becky has offered me one of her many rental properties, a house in Raleigh with a big lot where I can park Scout. Seems like the practical thing to do is go there and camp-out until the quarantine is lifted and a vaccine is available. It is ironic that I just got rid of the last of my housewares and now I might be living in an unfurnished house.
I wish all of us good health.