Galvestonians are threatened by four different kinds of blight.
The first is the Coronavirus. It seems to be moving from China to onshore America while migrating to European countries at the same time. Major work is going on to find a cure, but none has been announced as of yet. We are a well-traveled port and an international gateway. It would be well to keep an eye on the progress of this bug.
The second is multiplying and migrating no-parking signs. If you were to come to the West End of Galveston, one day you might find a single no-parking sign at the end of a road marked for beach access. Come back two days later and you’ll find six or more.
None are city signs but somehow these mutations multiplied and walked across roads and ditches to colonize beach access roads. In every colony, a few have their feet nailed to the floor — literally. The hole for the sign was filled with concrete before the sign was placed.
The third is wandering dunes. While wandering dunes are a real natural phenomenon, our West End has patented its own version. Like no-parking signs, these sand hills spring up overnight in places where no dune existed and usually in spots that block public beach access.
They don’t seem to be as dangerous as no-parking signs because they tend to wash away (so does every other kind of expensive man-made dune) when we have a heavy rain while concretized signs do not. But just like the signs, dunes seem to spawn again soon after they are diluted and drift away.
Two of the above three are illegal, where the fourth is not. That makes the fourth plague more insidious.
When I was a young man, I crossed over one day into Juarez, Mexico. I wandered into a store resembling our Dollar Store and found a section filled with Mexican stuffed frogs made into table lamps or dressed in doll clothes and frozen in grotesque dancing positions, top hat and cane pointed toward the heavens. At the time, I thought nothing could symbolize bad taste more than owning a stuffed bullfrog lamp. I was wrong.
The fourth plague began when we had a migration of plastic pink flamingos (Phoeniconaias Fraudius) arrive, probably from South Florida. Like signs and dunes, they multiply rapidly and are not ecologically sensitive in that they only need a small area of land to remain statuesque for days, if not years. They seem insensitive to heat, extreme cold and even human activity.
I’ll confide, I’ve tried to stare a flock down but gave up after an hour when there was no movement. I don’t know where they came from, what they eat or how they breed, but I do know they’re horrific. I would trade a plastic flamingo for a stuffed frog any day.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Texas Medical Branch are on the virus. City council meets next month on the West End debaucheries. That leaves us with the flamingos.