Corona Princess Diaries – Day 2
Hi, everybody! I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.
Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you.
*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis.
I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now. If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.
I hope you enjoy this second FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition. If you missed the first chapter, you can find it here.
Corona Princess Diaries – Day 2
– Royal Bedroom –
After a long nap and a viewing of The Secret Lives of Pets 2 (to calm my nerves, and also because the twins and Fat Louie adore it), I thought of something I could do to help during this worldwide crisis. Something that is probably more helpful than my composting program (although I will return to endorsing composting for every household in Genovia when this is all over).
Of course I had to think of my idea on my own, with no help from anyone, because my entire family is so angry that I closed the schools and borders . . . .
Except for Michael, of course, who remains a bastion of strength, but is locked inside one of the guest rooms, self isolating and trying not to be a vector of infection.
“But I had an oral report due on the life cycle of the iguana,” cried my half-sister Olivia when she learned there’d be no more school.
Honestly, I’ve never seen anyone more disappointed that school’s been canceled in my life. If it were me, I’d have been turning cartwheels around the Portrait Gallery (which my little brother Rocky was, in fact, doing).
“You can give your oral report to me,” I said. “I’ll listen to it.”
“It’s not the same.” Olivia is too old now to pout, being a teenager, and isn’t the sulky type anyway. But she looked as close to pouting as she could get. “You don’t like iguanas.”
It’s true I did try to have all the iguanas—an invasive species to Genovia, with no known predators—eradicated from the palace grounds, but that isn’t because I don’t like them. I simply got tired of hearing Grandmere complain about how they were eating all her roses.
My father was even more disappointed.
“What about the Genovian Grand Prix?” he asked. “How are drivers supposed to get their cars here if the borders are closed?”
I took a deep breath and broke the bad news: “There isn’t going to be a Grand Prix this year, Dad.”
He looked as if I’d stabbed him through the heart. But instead of saying anything more, he merely pushed away his (royal chef made) duck confit uneaten, and walked dejectedly from the table.
“I suppose the Annual Spring Art Fair is canceled, too?” Mom asked, quietly.
“Not canceled,” I said. “Postponed. Postponed until we get a handle on this thing.”
Mom nodded with acceptance. As an artist, she’s more used to disappointment, rejection, and loss than Dad, and can handle it better.
Of course I understand their feelings. It’s always disappointing when something you’ve been looking forward to doesn’t happen. How do they think I feel about my composting program?
But this is a global pandemic, and they’re worried about oral reports and car races? (Not to minimize their concerns. Oral reports on the life cycle of the iguana are important. I will make sure that Olivia is able to give hers to her class via some sort of video technology. I’m sure Michael knows of something).
Only my good friend Tina Hakim Baba, when I called her, seemed to understand. She is in New York, doing her medical residency. This thing hasn’t hit there yet, but she’s heard of it.
“Shut it down,” she said, when I told her about seeing my grandmother cavorting on the deck of the royal yacht where I frequently play with my children.
“Really? Do you think I should? Because everyone is so–”
“I’ve seen reports coming out of other countries. SHUT IT ALL DOWN NOW, MIA.”
So I called the Prime Minister. I told her that now that the news is out that we’re closing the schools and borders, and everyone is already thoroughly annoyed, we should also close the beaches, hotels, casinos, bars, and restaurants.
The prime minister was quite shocked. “Your Highness, are you sure?”
I said, “Absolutely,” and sent her the video of my grandmother, the inFLUENZer (as I now like to call her), prancing around the marina outside my palace wearing hardly any clothing and without practicing any social distancing whatsoever, as is — it must be admitted — her wont.
“Innocent citizens are going to get sick because of people like her,” I said. “It’s up to us to stop it.”
“But,” the Prime Minister said. “It’s high season. If you close the beaches, hotels, casinos, bars, and restaurants, the tourists will leave, and the Genovian economy will suffer.”
“Yes. You and I will have to take the responsibility for that. But I also have millions and millions of Euros worth of crowned jewels I can sell or pawn to help my people if I need to.”
She gasped. “Your Highness! You wouldn’t!”
“How many tiaras does one princess need? Prime Minister, now is the time to ask yourself, do you want to be the mayor from the movie Jaws who kept the beaches open when there was a killer shark out there? Or do you want to be the sheriff who turned out to be right about the killer shark, and saved thousands of people’s lives?”
“I have never seen the movie Jaws,” the Prime Minister said. “I prefer romantic comedies.”
“Don’t we all,” I said. “But trust me. You want to be the sheriff. Close the beaches. Close the bars. Shut it all down!”
Fortunately for me the prime minister also has several sweet young children, elderly parents and grandparents (though hers aren’t inFLUENZers), and a smoking hot husband, so she understood perfectly.
“Done,” she said, and issued the following proclamation before I could pour another glass of wine (honestly I feel like unless you’re a health worker or a trucker transporting important goods like medical supplies or ice dream to afflicted areas, it’s okay to day drink in a time of crisis like this, especially if you have twin toddlers and your husband is self-quarantining in a guest room down the hall and the only way you can see him is to Skype or stand on a tiny balcony and wave).
I feel like this strikes just the right tone. I was the one who insisted on adding the part about veterinarian offices and pet supply stores remaining open, because think of the pets! My poor Fat Louie is approximately one million years old and needs little steps to get up on the bed now when he sleeps with me and Michael (and Michael is such a true prince, he says he doesn’t mind sharing a bed with an ancient, hair-ball spewing cat that I’ve had since I was a child).
What would I do if the veterinarian was closed? Or the pet supply shop where I buy Fat Louie’s special food for elderly felines?
And obviously we have to keep the liquor stores open because not everyone lives in a palace like me with a dungeon in the basement that’s been converted into a massive, well-stocked wine cellar.
Really, everything is going very nicely, all things considered . . . .
Except for the fact that my entire family is furious with me, my husband is in self-isolation, and the major domo just knocked on my door to tell me that my grandmother — the inFLUENZer — wants to see me RIGHT NOW.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE PRINCESS DIARIES, QUARANTINE EDITION, coming tomorrow.