A few weeks ago I stocked up on some basics. A bigger bag of rice, a large bag of dry beans, a few boxes of pasta. Nothing dramatic, but enough that I felt we we would be okay if a hurricane blew through, or an earthquake, or maybe even a few weeks of quarantine. The only thing missing from the shelves that day were ramen noodles, and a toilet paper was getting low (so I grabbed one of those just in case too.)
Today I went in for a couple of potatoes and soda. Normal weekly stuff. I was a little shocked by just how many shelves were bare.
Now, some of this is a good thing. Everyone should have at least a weeks worth of food in their pantry (non-perishables) just in case. I’ve made it a point to do so ever since living in North Dakota twenty years ago. We had a blizzard that knocked out the power for the entire state and no water. My baby was on formula at the time and we had no water to make her formula. No food that didn’t need to be cooked, and no way to heat the apartment since everything was electric. I learned very quickly that it’s just good practice to have a few gallons of water, and some non-perishables on hand in case something happened.
But this is something that’s supposed to be done over time, not everyone rushing on the stores at once, so I’m not surprised that the stores are being stripped. It’s as if everyone was told there’s going to be a really bad hurricane next week so be prepared, and they did. The trouble is they all did it at once, and a few opportunistic people exacerbated the issue buy buying ALL of a few key things…so it’s looking a little barren at the moment.
This will pass. In a week or two supply chains will catch up, and people will already have their two week pantry, so we can all get back to a….normal…existence. As normal as you can get with social distancing, at least.
I’ve been venturing out a little here and there to pick up something at the drive through, or just grab something at the store, but seeing the shelves bare like that was a bit surreal. I’m one of those people with compromised immune systems. I have asthma, and a few bad allergies, and have had complication in the last few years that landed me in the hospital on a neutralizer because I couldn’t breath. I’m susceptible to pneumonia and bronchitis already, so this thing… ya, I’m a little worried if I get it. Gregg, my SO, is worried about me, too. He has steadfastly refused to leave the house for the last week because he absolutely does not want to risk me getting sick.
So we stay home. It isn’t much different from normal, we all work from home, but it feels different somehow. I admit part of me had a morbid curiosity to see if the news about stores was right, but also I sometimes just like to go have a meal at a restaurant, or window shop, and I really can’t right now.
I’m not the only one. There are millions of people across the world right now just waiting to see what happens. I saw a picture of a woman telling her granddad about her engagement through a window because she didn’t want to make him sick. I’m sure most of us saw the balcony concerts going on in Italy. People all over the world, in every country, are hunkering down until doctors can find a solution, or the virus burns itself out.
This could be a moment for us all to come together over a common foe, like in the movie where aliens attack and we all band together to fight for humanity. Sometimes I wish life was as neat and orderly as a movie with a definitive beginning, middle and happy ending.
On the plus side, they were stocking the shelves with toilet paper as I was leaving the store today. I’m certain the shelves will be restocked in a week or two as well with most items. This isn’t the end of the world, just a really big bump in the road. We’ll make it through, it’s just going to be rough for a little while.
Till then, hang in there.