Today we're talking quarantine.
In short, I'm in favor.
You know, of course, I'm talking about the Ebola epidemic, and it goes without saying that this epidemic is horrific and terrifying. My heart goes out to anyone in the world who has lost someone they loved to this dreaded disease. And my prayers are with anyone who has contracted Ebola. And thank God for the doctors, nurses, and others who are going over to West Africa to fight the epidemic, because they are true heroes.
As I say, all of this goes without saying.
Still, I'm saying it.
First, because I'm a mother, and as you know, it's our job to say things that go without saying. For example, for years I have been saying to Daughter Francesca:
When it's cold out, take a jacket.
I said this to her when she was 8, and I say it to her now that she's 28.
Also, I still tell her: Eat your vegetables.
You know what's funny about that?
She's a vegetarian.
Maybe she listened?
So, when I read in the newspaper that an American doctor had returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, then decided to eat a meatball sandwich in a restaurant, then take the subway, and then go bowling, I instantly texted Francesca, who lives in New York. I said to her what goes without saying:
Don't take the subway.
Don't go bowling.
Don't eat meatball sandwiches.
Never mind that I can't remember the last time Francesca ate a meatball sandwich, especially now that she's a vegetarian.
Also I doubt that she has ever gone bowling, but you never know, the idea to go bowling could just randomly pop into her head, and as a mother, I had to nip that in the bud. Plus she takes the subway all the time, a fact I hated way before Ebola-bearing doctors started riding around.
So being a good mother, I texted her the things that went without saying. I give myself credit for not texting her the things I really wanted to say, which were:
Come home now.
Don't touch anything in New York.
Avoid using the letter E altogether.
To stay on point about Ebola, I'm making a big point of saying what goes without saying because I know what a lot of you are going to say because of what I'm about to say next.
Which is that I'm in favor of quarantining for three weeks any health care worker who has treated Ebola patients in West Africa.
Don't think I'm being hysterical about Ebola. I know it isn't easy to spread. And I'm not being mean about these health care workers, because as I said above, I believe they are true heroes.
But everything is a cost-benefit analysis.
And in this case, the cost is me getting a dreaded disease or you staying home for three weeks.
Guess which I choose.
My answer is informed not only by the fact that I think I'm adorable, but also by the fact that I don't think being quarantined is the worst thing in the world.
I would love being quarantined.
It would be like a permanent snow day.
I wouldn't have to go out to run errands, and I might not even get out of bed. I would just watch TV or read. I could have someone deliver me my groceries. I would finally organize my closet.
In fact, I already live in quarantine.
All writers do.
I'm always inside, especially when it's cold outside.
Also, inside is all the food I like to eat, right in my very own refrigerator.
I could wait three weeks to go bowling.
And I don't eat meatball sandwiches because I'm a vegetarian, too.
But a lot of people don't like the idea of quarantine, and someone made the point that quarantine would be a hardship for returning health care workers because they would be unable to make a living for three weeks.
So I propose that the government pay them to stay home.
And if the government won't pay them, I will.
Because they need to earn a living, and I need to keep on living.
Living, all around, for everyone!
And no bowling until Ebola's in the gutter.