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Meg's Blog

Corona Princess Diaries Day 10

Greetings, everybody! I hope you’re all still 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.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this tenth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

 

 

– Royal Bedroom –

Despite some news reports to the contrary, Genovia is still holding steady at only one (1) Covid-19 patient (a Spring Breaker from Gainesville, Florida). Chad (last name withheld for reasons of privacy) is in stable condition at the Genovia Hospital, resting comfortably and in good spirits. The hospital has been inundated with gift baskets of pears and olive oil for him from well-meaning Genovians.

 

People seemed determined, however, to push up our numbers. We’ve had to close the airports and marinas and establish checkpoints on all roads leading into Genovia, and ask car owners to present proof of residency before they can enter – that’s how many people are trying to get in!

 

I’ve always known, of course, that Genovia is popular. It’s certainly where I would want to be during any sort of international crisis. The beaches are lovely (though they’re all closed now) and the weather can’t be beat, and of course we serve every flavor of gelato that you can imagine (when the shops are open).

 

But you would think people would take into account that our hospital is quite small. We barely have enough beds for our permanent residents, let alone visitors!

 

Chad has only been allowed to stay because he was here before the lockdown occurred, and because he’s ill. Chad’s roommate Derek, meanwhile, had to be tracked down by the Royal Genovian Guard. He was finally caught inside Crazy Ivan’s (currently acting only as a liquor store and not a bar, and so has permission to be open as an essential business. Genovians love their liquor) and is currently being well taken care of by . . . .

 

Me.

 

That’s right. We have a University of Florida student living with us here at the palace, because my grandmother says the only way she’ll stay in self-isolation is if we “look after poor Derek,” whom she met while partying during Spring Break on the Royal Yacht.

 

Obviously, I’ve stuck him in the little guest apartment above the pool house (like Ryan Atwood on The OC, but let me tell you, Derek does not look like Ryan – or perhaps I’ve been married too long to an actual man to appreciate the looks of nineteen year old boys, who now resemble hairless newts to me), because it’s the room furthest away from our quarters. Not to be mean, but I do not even know this boy.

 

And although he’s tested negative for Covid, who knows what other diseases Derek could have? I saw the way Grandmere, also known as the inFLUENZer, was grinding on him in that video someone posted of the two of them “dancing” together.

 

But even though I’ve put him as far away as humanly possible from the rest of us, I still have to hear him all the time, because he’s already managed to figure out how to work the outdoor sound system over there.

 

“What is that?” I asked Michael this evening while we were enjoying our nightly cocktail on our respective balconies (only FOUR more days until he’s out of self-isolation!).

 

“I believe that’s Baby, I Love You by Aretha Franklin,” Michael replied.

 

“But why?” I was shocked. “Why is he playing that now, outside? And so loudly?”

 

“I’m guessing because he’s a college student,” Michael said, not looking nearly as aggravated as I felt. “And because he likes it. And because he’s getting to live for free in a beautiful apartment above a swimming pool in a palace in Genovia, with all the free food and booze he wants. So he’s showing his appreciation.”

 

“Well, I don’t appreciate it. I’m putting a stop to it right now!” I jumped to my feet.

 

“Why?” Michael asked.

 

“Because the whole town is going to hear that!”

 

“So what? The whole town is in lockdown, unable to go out. They might enjoy hearing the Queen of Soul coming from the palace.”

 

“But – but – he might wake the babies!”

 

“Who cares?” Michael was laughing. “There’s a beautiful sunset, nice music, and we’re together—at least as together as we can be right now. Why don’t you just relax?”

 

I stared at him in disbelief.

 

Here is the problem: I love my husband, but I hate being told to relax. I can and will relax, but only when I’m good and ready. Don’t tell me to relax.

 

And especially don’t tell me to relax when there’s a global pandemic and thousands of people are trying to enter my country, but I can’t let them in (which I feel very guilty and conflicted over), I have twin toddlers, a psychotic grandmother, a cat with hyperthyroidism, a principality to rule, and some random college student living in my pool house, playing VERY loud music during the only time I’m able to enjoy the company of my self-isolating husband.

 

I was about to tell Michael how very much I hate being told to relax (which he knows) when something strange happened:

 

Derek—who obviously fancies himself some kind of DJ—put on his next song for our alleged enjoyment: Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life.

 

And I felt myself  . . . relaxing.

 

I was ACTUALLY relaxing. During a pandemic!

 

I don’t know how.  Or why.

 

It was all so strange, because I’d just been talking to my friend Tina Hakim Baba on the phone – poor Tina is in New York City, where they are having a terrible outbreak of the virus. Tina is a resident in a hospital there, so she is bravely working night and day to combat it – and she had JUST been saying to me that in addition to our physical health, we need to look out for our mental health during this stressful time as well, in whatever way we can, whether by:

 

  • Finding some kind of hobby or project we enjoy (Ha! Yeah! Right!)
  • Exercising (seriously?)
  • Meditating (please)
  • Watching a movie or television show (who has time for this? Though Tina does, apparently – she is re-watching Glee on Netflix for the thirtieth time in between shifts, and I am thankful to Netflix for broadcasting Glee to help those like Tina who are out there on the battle lines)
  • Reading (honestly this one I get. Especially for people like Tina, lover of all things romance. I myself am reading a book about a pandemic, specifically the Spanish Influenza, because there might be valuable clues in it that could help our current situation. But I can’t say I’m enjoying it.)
  • Whatever else helps that is not illegal or harmful to ourselves or others

 

I assured Tina that I’m journaling every day (well, almost), but as a busy working mother—even with a lot of help (although the nanny quit)—I barely have time to care for my physical health, let alone my mental health.

 

But I’m not even the person doing the worst in my family right now, mental health wise. You would think that prize would go to my father or possibly my grandmother (although her mental health is so bad that she thinks she is the sanest person in the family). No. Oh, no. Today I found out that that prize goes to my half-brother Rocky. Because today I found out that Rocky got into a fight.

 

With a swan.

 

One of the swans from the moat.

 

A LIVE SWAN. My little brother got into a fight with a SWAN.

 

I can’t imagine what people who live in a regular sized house or apartment are going through if they, like me, are sheltering-in-place with young children. It’s difficult enough in a palace.

 

In any case, the swan appears to have won, since Rocky has a black eye, and I saw the swan a little while ago, strutting around and waving his wings like Creed after a prize fight.

 

Mom was busy helping out with the twins and Dad of course was yelling into his phone about his investments, so I was the one who was forced to sit down and have the following talk with my little brother:

 

“Rocky,” I said. “Can you please not beat up the swans from the moat? They’re only birds. You’re a human boy, and much smarter than they are.”

 

Rocky: “But he started it!”

 

Me: “Yes, well, he may have started it, but it’s up to you to put an end to it.”

 

Rocky: “I tried to! But then he hissed at me, and hit me in the eye with his beak!”

 

Me: “I know. But he’s only a swan. He didn’t know any better. HE IS A BIRD.”

 

Rocky (sullen): “None of this would be happening if it weren’t for this stupid virus. I was supposed to be playing in the Genovian Youth Soccer National Championship this week, and instead I’m cooped up in this stupid palace with these stupid swans!”

 

Suddenly, everything became much clearer. I have no idea why the Royal Genovian Academy is taking so long setting up online classes. But there hasn’t been a peep out of them yet except to say “We will be contacting you soon!” and meanwhile, the kids are running around wild, beating up swans because their minds aren’t being actively engaged and their mental health is literally going to the birds.

 

Although I have a feeling things are going to get worse when they DO set up the online classes.

 

Me: “All right, listen, Rocky, I understand. There are a lot of things I’d rather be doing this week, too. But the Genovian Youth Soccer National Championship is going to get rescheduled. I promise. In the meantime, if you could just try to get along with the swans, I’ll give you—well, I’ll give you anything you want.”

 

Rocky (considering this): “Really? Anything I want?”

 

Me (realizing I was making a huge mistake but thinking, How bad could it be?): “Sure.”

 

Rocky: “Great. I’d like my own sword, please.”

 

Me (I should have seen this coming): “No. You cannot have a sword.”

 

Rocky: “Then can I have my own flame thrower?”

 

Me:“No. No, you cannot have your own flame thrower. Ask for something reasonable that is not a weapon with which you can hurt swans or people.”

 

Rocky: “Fine. Then can I just play soccer with that new guy who moved in above the pool house? He said he’d play with me if you said it was okay. I promise I won’t touch the ball with my hands. Please?”

 

Me: “….”

 

Rocky: “PLEASE???? You said anything.  I saw him dancing with Grandmere in a video, so it’s not like we’re not friends with him. He’s cool, he likes soccer and video games. He says he’s studying music history at the best college in the USA, University of Florida, so that he can be a DJ one day.”

 

Me (….): “Fine. Yes, you can play soccer with him if you don’t touch the ball. Or him. Stay six feet away from him at all times.”

 

Rocky: “THANKS! I will!”

 

I wish I could go back to the days when playing soccer with someone was all it took to make me happy. Actually, those days never existed for me.

 

Suddenly the music shifted, and Derek began to play Take Me to the River by the Talking Heads.

 

“See?” Michael said, tapping his fingers along the stone balustrade. “Isn’t this nice? Aren’t you glad you gave it a chance?”

 

“Okay.” I had to admit Derek had taste. “But if this goes on past Rocky’s bedtime, I’m shutting it down.”

 

Sometimes being the princess of Genovia isn’t so bad after all.

****

Come back soon for another entry of The Corona Princess Diaries

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