Sunday, October 26, 2014

Guest Post: Emily's Ebola Manifesto

Today's TTIV blog entry is a guest post from my friend Emily. Featured in the mastheads of influential magazines such as Glamour and People, she has grabbed this Ebola scare by the horns and has a lot to say about it. It's more of a manifesto than a blog entry. Enjoy.

I felt that TTIV wouldn't truly be a transportation-centric news source without a report on the newest darling of the infectious disease community, Ebola. I'm going to give TTIV a rest and take the wheel on this one. 

At an impressionable age, I dove into the book "The Hot Zone, the Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus," by Richard Preston. Do you know this book? It came out in 1994, and when I first saw it in a bookstore (remember bookstores?), I knew I had to read it. It was the most terrifying book I wish I'd never read. I loved it. And, it equipped me with knowledge.

Fast forward to 2014. Ebola is a trending topic on Twitter (the source of 94.829% of my news). You can buy a cute and fuzzy Ebola stuffed toy. The news reporters are breathless, the gleam in their eyes unmistakable, as they talk about the game of "catch me if you can" with Ebola in the United States. It has now hit my city, and I am welcoming it with open arms and an unlimited MetroCard.

As a New Yorker, I'm excited to host the virus of the century. TTIV Note: When you think about it, where else but the world's center stage should a virus of epic proportions go? New York, of course! It did its time in Africa. It paid its dues. It's ready for the big time. 

Look at all the things Ebola gives us! 
  1. Bellevue Hospital gets to be known for something else besides being a mental hospital
  2. You can get your very own commuter or subway car, and you just have to shout, 'I'm infected!"
  3. On every ride, you can ask yourself about the person suffering from cold symptoms next to you, "is that person infected or suffering from ragweed? 
Let's get back to the bigger picture. The stories of how people are catching Ebola confuse me. They KNOW it's highly infectious. Were they not wearing head to toe HAZMAT suits at all times? Call me insensitive, but sometimes I think Ebola is here to thin out the idiots from the tribe. That isn't a bad thing. Unless you're an idiot.

How do you get Ebola and bring it back to the USA? You have to make a concerted effort. Here's how I think it goes: The person finds himself chillin' with an infected Ebola patient and decides the HAZMAT suit makes him look fat. He also worries that it makes the infected guy feel insecure, and he's a caring person. He takes off the suit, they hug it out, and then he decides it's time redeem some of his travel points. Hey, they're about to expire. He gets on a plane to the US. 

He arrives back in New York City, and he's got simmering Ebola while having never felt better. He gets on the A Train, gets on the L train, goes to Brooklyn, and grabs a lane with some buds and bowls. Hanging with the hipsters, they spend an evening comparing beards, skinny jeans, and trendy sneakers. They bowl a few games, and then he goes home to vomit his brains out.

Let's get serious here. I feel sorry for the guy. He's a member of "Doctors Without Borders," a group that does real humanitarian work. But what happened upon his return? Why did he become a Doctor Without Morals, Common Sense, or Conscience? He should have known better and quarantined himself. He went into the hot zone. He treated people with the disease. He knew it takes a few weeks to erupt. But what did he do? He got on public transportation and shared it with everyone. When he recovers, I think he should pay for all the overtime spent disinfecting the places he went. Maybe even be charged with a crime.

Williamsburg's hipness just grew a bit. They now have a brand new reason to call themselves the Hot Zone. Just don't ask me to get on the L train for another six months.

Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.
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  1. Outstanding work, Emily.

  2. No No No. You have to thank the guy. What other motivation could have made the MTA clean the subway cars. The "L" is probably the cleanest line right now - or atleast until the Monday commute.