George Packard and the Breaking News Scoop at the Beach

George Packard, roving reporter for Bumbastories, had been doing minimal reporting of late. Heck, he barely wrote anything at all for Bumbastories anymore. George had essentially abandoned his quest to be the johnny-on-the-spot reporter who comes up with a big, journalistic scoop, a headline piece, a Breaking News story. George had given the Breaking News matter some thought, and he’d decided in the end that most of these Breaking News stories involved some kind of tragedy: a fire, a car accident, a violent crime, a tsunami, a tornado… the kind of things George figured he’d be best off avoiding. In addition, most of George’s rovings were done on the bicycle. And he hadn’t ridden since the quarantine started! George missed riding the bicycle. It was one of his regular things.

So he was delighted to read in the Sunday L.A. Times an account by Robin Abcarian of a pleasant bicycle ride she had with her partner in the Marina Del Rey area. Even though the beach and the bicycle path were closed down, there was still some fine riding and nature to commune with in the wetlands along the Ballona Creek bicycle path. The political issues surrounding bike path and the wetlands area were touched upon. A fine article – one which immediately tipped the scales for George Packard vis-a-vis riding the bicycle. This was George Packard’s regular route, the Ballona Creek bike path! George went out to the garage and got out the bike.

As George pedalled, he thought of all the posts he had submitted to Bumbastories about his trips to the beach. The President could be visiting in Beverly Hills, the mayor giving a speech at City Hall. There could be an award ceremony Hollywood. No matter. George looked for his Breaking News story at the beach. It used to drive his editor, old Bumba, crazy. But here he was on his way to the bicycle path. On his way to a scoop, perhaps? It seemed to George that people, mostly young people, seemed to be less vigilant of late. Restrictions were being loosened in other parts of the country. People were going to the beach down in Orange County. George wondered what the beach at Playa Del Rey would look like.

The streets were easy to navigate as he headed toward Culver City. George rode down an empty Washington Blvd, made a left at Overland, and rode down to the bicycle path.  Ah, the bicycle path! It was sunny and quiet. At first George saw only a few occasional riders who passed the other way. Most wore masks or kerchieves. But, as George rode on in the direction of the beach, he saw that the path was busier than usual. At Centinela he saw clusters of riders ahead. Yikes! George stopped. Maybe a lot of people had read the same article. George turned the bike around, rode back up on Centinela over to Venice Blvd. He took Venice all the way back home. So much for journalistic scoops in the age of pandemics.

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6 thoughts on “George Packard and the Breaking News Scoop at the Beach

  1. Social distancing is so important! That’s why I’m inside today. It’s finally sunny here, and I live by the beach, and people seem to have already forgotten.

    1. Yes, they seem to be letting down their veils…er masks. People are out a bit more in LA, out for exercise, just walking. Most all keep respectful distance. We have an excellent epidemiological experiment. In a few weeks we’ll see which country and states have what infection, hospitalization/mortality rates. Meanwhile, you’re right. Need to be careful. Take care, Resa.

  2. It’s hard. Even the laziest most immobile of us longs for a brisk walk or a bike ride right now. My entire being seems to be turning to jelly for lack of fresh air. Good for your roving reporter turning tail and heading back to the tedium of isolation.

    1. George Packard is an untrepid reporter, but he’s a good citizen. Even though he wouldn’t be endangering anyone to ride by himself outside on the streets, it sets a bad example. If lots of people did it, it would become unsafe.

  3. I’m heartened that George takes social distancing seriously. Maybe this virus is addressing the political balance? The ignorant and gullible will be adhering to the tweets, injecting themselves with disinfectant and not social distancing (which is obviously communist!).

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