That pandemic receded into the background early last week, as we traveled to Arkansas where it had barely managed a toe-hold.
By Thursday, however, we were back in Texas where corona virus cases were spreading and panic buying had begun. By Friday it was not just hand sanitizers, wipes and alcohol that had become unavailable. Water, milk, toilet paper, for God sakes. Every slice of processed meat in the delis. Eggs. People were hoarding eggs. It’s not like they store very well for very long, but Fear doesn’t have to make sense.
There were so many people roaming the grocery store trying to stock up in order to hunker down and hide from everyone else that they packed the aisles and assured that if Covid-19 were in the air, it’d have a plethora of hosts from which to choose.We were running out of some basic foods, but I waited until today to venture out, hoping people had filled their fridges and pantries by now. Wrong. Walmart was out of everything by the time I arrived at 7:45. I met a man (at a social distance) who had purchased several rolls of paper towels expressly because there was no toilet paper to be had.
At the HEB grocery store, they were completely out of rubbing alcohol, sanitary wipes and hand sanitizer five minutes after opening. I was able to score toilet paper, but they were down to maybe 20 bags of it where normally they might have a thousand. Eggs, milk, water and whole chickens all were being rationed. I managed to get plenty of food for us to get by for a few days, minus the garlic. Every clove was gone.
It’s a virus, people, not a vampire.
But they can’t help it, because they’re afraid – of the unknown, of having their lives upended, of death. So they hunker in their houses, and I in mine, and our kids’ schools close, then the restaurants and bars and movie theaters, the concerts and pro basketball and baseball seasons. I keep thinking of that line by Monty Python: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
So we wait now, for wipes and more toilet paper and the all-clear signal, yet no one has any idea when it’s going to come. We have no choice but to live in the moment, I think, there’s only the eternal Now. We have to learn to hunker down really well, with incredible style and grace, I think. There’s never any road map, I think. None of us knows what we’re doing, as usual, we’re just winging it.
Best of luck to you. Let me know how you’re making out.