Over the weekend, while booking a flight to Los Angeles, I got a message from the airline telling me my flight would probably not take off as scheduled, due to a tropical storm called Hilary. So, I canceled my early morning flight and booked a later one. Then, I heard that an earthquake had shaken the LA area.
Unlike Hillary, this earthquake was not assigned a name, but it’s presence nevertheless got my attention, and made me wonder if perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something. A tropical storm and hurricane at the same time? Hmm…
I was rethinking the wisdom of traveling at all this morning, when I received an alert that Maui was begging tourists to either stay home, or go home, if they were already on the island. Lahaina was gone, burned to the ground by a wildfire with no name. What an absolute tragedy. It made me wonder, though, why fires and earthquakes are never anthropomorphized, but tropical storms and hurricanes are. And what about twisters and tornadoes. Why don’t they get names?
Before I could research the matter, I got word that Governor Newsom, out of an abundance of caution, had declared a “state of emergency” in advance of the heavy rain headed for Los Angeles. Then I received an “urgent” warning from a site I didn’t know I followed called IFL, which I think stands for “I F@#&king Love Science.) IFL wanted me to know that “Eris” was on the move, and that I shouldn’t travel unless “absolutely necessary.”
“Eris,” I said, to no one in particular. “Who the hell is Eris?”
According to The World Health Organization, “Eris” is a “variant of interest,” a subvariant of Omicron that should be more closely watched than the other 35 variants because of mutations that might make it more contagious.” The article IFL shared on it’s site encouraged me put my mask back on – especially if I insisted on traveling – and to make sure my vaccines are up to date.
There were many comments, as you might imagine, to an article such as this. The most lively, was started by someone who posted a link to a place where anyone can get a counterfeit vaccine card. “This way,” they said, “you can have the freedom you need to live your life, along with the confidence that you’re no more vulnerable to Eris than those lining up for their sixth booster, without all the dangerous side effects of filling your body with an untested medicine.”
As I pored over the outrage on both sides of the vaccine debate – and the absolute certainty of everyone involved – I couldn’t help but wonder why a “subvariant of interest” gets a name, when so many other sub variants get nothing but a few numbers, a dash, and a letter? And what kind of name is Eris, anyway? Since Delta has free Internet, (the carrier, not the other variant) I was able to learn from google that Eris is “a feminine name of Greek goddess of discord, that means strife.” Interesting. I also learned that Eris is “sure to help baby embrace their dark and mischievous side.”
Oh, Eris, you little scamp!
It was a lot to contemplate, but I decided to tempt fate, and fly to Gomorrah anyway. I nearly missed my flight, and who knows – maybe I should have? But I didn’t, and now I’m on my way. If I see Hilary, or Eris, I’ll send your regards.
Frankly, I don’t see what could possibly go wrong.
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