Little has changed in the Northern California town of Bodega Bay in the years since Alfred Hitchcock trained his camera on its wild coastline in The Birds. The seagulls were never actually so murderous, but they still fly in lazy loops in the gray sky and crows will, from time to time, land in actual murders on abandoned jungle gyms. The Tides diner made famous in the film still serves meals, though their clientele is primarily vacationers who are willing to pay extra for the view of the bay and the opportunity to buy assorted Hitchcock-themed flotsam and jetsam from its gift shops. The wharf is still full of fishermen hauling in the day’s catch, and several are willing to rent out a boat for the day, but not often to a blonde in impractical pumps carrying two caged lovebirds.
Mostly, there is still beautiful, rugged coastline, and the wildness that must have inspired Hitchcock all those years ago.
Not everything is as it was though. Just off Highway 1, there is a new sign hanging, one that features the titular star of the film. Not Tippi Hedron, but a bird. A large black raven and under that, the words “The Bird House." Today, it goes on to say, “Vacancy.”
If you were a traveler, perhaps of either the weary or adventurous type, who had in any case not planned ahead, your heart would be mightily cheered by that word, and you might decide to turn off the highway to inquire about that vacancy.
As you turned, you might realize that you should have slowed more before making such a sharp left off the wet road when such massive trees stand sentry on either side. Perhaps you might be briefly fearful that you had cut it too close. Your heart might race as you pull hard on the steering wheel, but once you’d made it, you would be rewarded with a long and winding drive through soaring eucalyptus trees curving up around you like a softly fluttering tunnel, thick with hanging moss and dripping with fog. The drive would be long enough that you’d begin to wonder if you’d taken the right driveway, or if perhaps the sign indicated the next, and just as you began to hesitate, to slow down, preparing to make a five or six-point turn on the narrow drive, at just that moment, an enormous Victorian mansion towering on a seaside cliff would come into view and you’d hurry on your way, pleased with your decision not to plan ahead and instead trust in providence to bring you to such a fine destination. And when you stepped out of your car and felt the tiny hairs on the back of your neck prickle, you might stop to look around, sure that someone was watching. But you’d forget the moment quickly as you dreamt of the warm soft bed that must surely be waiting for you. And with any luck, you’d never realize that yes, more than one set of black and beady eyes was watching.
China Grapples With Mystery Pneumonia-Like Illness
Beijing is racing to identify a new illness that has sickened 59 people as it tries to calm a nervous public. [...]Symptoms of the new illness include high fever, difficulty breathing and lung lesions, the Wuhan health commission has said. No deaths have been reported but seven people are critically ill. On Sunday, the city government said they had ruled out as causes SARS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), bird flu and the adenovirus.
January 6, 2020, The New York Times
California Confirms Coronavirus Patient, Marking Third U.S. Case
The United States has confirmed a third case of the novel coronavirus, after a traveler from China tested positive for the disease in Orange County, Calif.
January 26, 2020, The New York Times
They Want to Kill Me’: Many Covid Patients Have Terrifying Delirium
Paranoid hallucinations plague many coronavirus patients in I.C.U.s, an experience that can slow recovery and increase risk of depression and cognitive issues. [...] Some have “hyperactive delirium,” paranoid hallucinations and agitation; some have “hypoactive delirium,” internalized visions and confusion that cause patients to become withdrawn and incommunicative; and some have both.
June 28, 2020, NY Times
“ Every big hotel has got a ghost.”
Stephen King, The Shining