Captains Log, Star Date: The Ides Of March 2020
Overall, I’ve remained pretty low-key during the mass hysteria and panic buying surrounding the coronavirus, only going out to stockpile ‘necessities’ a couple of times.
When the stock market started getting squirrelly and tripped the circuit breaker on March 9, 2020, my friend called me in a panic. It was first thing in the morning—before I’d even had time to have my coffee. [It’s not nice to speak to Mother Nature before she’s had her coffee.]
She exclaimed: “The stock market took a hit. We need to get to the stores right away … before everyone panics and starts making a run on the stores.”
That turned out to be very good and timely advice, even if it was a bit panicky.
My friend doesn’t drive so I told her that as soon as I made my bed and gulped down some coffee that we’d head out to the store.
Krogers, Oh Krogers, Wherefore Art Thou, Krogers?
Our local grocery store (Stop-N-Shop) apparently hadn’t anticipated a run on cleaning supplies because included in that week’s circular was Clorox Antibacterial wipes: Buy 2, Get 1 Free.
As I was checking out with my cart—loaded down with Scentiva disinfectant spray for kitchen surfaces and 9 containers of Clorox wipes—I got the side eye from the cashier, bagger, as well as several customers behind me.
I laughed and said: “Hey, I’m no conspiracy theorist. As a matter of fact, I don’t even watch the news and I absolutely detest hearing about politics. But I wouldn’t put it past the media to whip whatever is happening with this new virus into a major crisis and milk it for all it’s worth.”
Again, more side eye.
See? What’d I Tell Ya?!
Within a few days, I made a revisit to that same store. That time it looked as if the government had declared Marshall Law and massive looting had occurred. The only thing missing from the visual was broken windows and shards of glass all over the parking lot.
Upon arriving home and putting away the supplies, I went back to my normal daily routine.
When working on my computer, I gave only cursory glances at the news headlines [and that was only because I couldn’t avoid them entirely] but I refused to get sucked into reading the ‘breaking news’ articles that turned out to be nothing more that reworded content, all saying exactly the same thing as CNN, Fox News, and NBC.
I did start getting more curious when church services started being limited to 50 people, schools began closing, and restaurants switched to take-out only. I honestly didn’t care about bars and night clubs. The way I figured it, people could suck down the suds and dance at home.
Then came ‘the biggie”—The Great Toilet Paper Shortage Of The New Millenium.
Wait? … What?! … We have three (3!) people in our household diagnosed with IBS. Things could get dicey.
Oh Gimme A (Coffee) Break
Still pondering that thought, I got up from my computer and walked over to the Keurig machine here in my writing room.
I opened the drawer and slowly reached in to grab a fresh pod to drop into the machine and lower the handle. Within seconds I could begin smelling the wonderful aroma of my long-time best friend — coffee.
Then it hit me.
I’d let the entire weekend slip away while I was engrossed in writing and web design. I’d been so busy that I’d failed to notice that I was running low on K-Cups. I sighed heavily, figuring that I’d better make a run to the grocery store before it closed.
It was Sunday night and already getting dark. I don’t know if you’ve ever visited here, but in New England, they roll up the sidewalks the nanosecond the sun’s shadows begin to elongate. I kid you not!
I had been trying to find something to appreciate about living there. I wasn’t finding much. Adjusting to the harsh culture shock of the northeast was challenging to say the least. Like Dorothy in the Wizard Of Oz when she tells Toto, “You’re not in Kansas anymore”, I find myself frequently mumbling “Remember, you’re not in Ohio anymore, so deal with it.”
There are no Krogers, no Giant Eagles stores, no Meijers. Nope. Nada. Zilch. There is nothing (except the occasional pharmacy or jail) that stays open, brightly lit, and staffed 24X7.
When you move to New England, you learn quickly to ‘get while the gettin’s good’. By that I mean, you need to get whatever you think you might need before 5 PM. That’s when you start hearing the grating mechanical sound of the sidewalks starting to retract.
Even the banks close before people are even off work. [?????]
Going to the grocery there after dark presents it’s own unique set of challenges.
I don’t want to malign anyone, so I won’t divulge which particular state in New England that I never wish to see again, but let’s just say that it’s claim to fame is being the smallest state in the nation.
Apparently the brilliant lawmakers here vetoed street lights as a frivolous luxury. (Pffffttt! who needs to see the roads when you drive?)
Locals say they used to have street lights, but apparently the massive brain trust there opted to use the excessively high tax revenue they shake everyone down for other things. (Vegan-owned Keto rehab centers perhaps?)
One things is extremely obvious. The diverted $$$ is not being used on roads or infrastructure. They have some of the worst roads I’ve ever seen. It’s crazy ridiculous.
I’ve never seen such a dark place in my life! … I take that back. yes, I have … the back alleys of South Detroit that we see depicted in B-rated movies. End of editorial.
I decided that my love of coffee outweighed the annoyance of going out on their roads after dark. As soon as I pulled out of the garage, I knew I should have forked over the cash to get those 17,000-lumen light bars mounted to the top of the car for night driving!
In any event, I drove carefully wearing my night vision goggles and arrived at the grocery store safely.
Cover Me, I’m Going In
I grabbed and sanitized a shopping cart [or ‘carriage’ as the locals call them]. Pitching my used antibacterial wipe in the trash can [they call them trash ‘barrels’ there] I proceeded to walk down the aisle and through the produce section.
There were NO potatoes of any kind.
Had I missed something? Was the media doing a retrospective on the 1845 Potato Famine?
I rounded the first corner and walked past the deli counter, everything looked normal there. Then I saw it [or as they say with their weird accent: I ‘sore’ it]. The entire meat case was naked and bare — with the exception of a full display of bacon. No self-respecting Vegan in the Northeast would be caught dead buying bacon.
Do the Happy Dance!
Finally, the hocus-pocus propaganda from the ‘saturated fat is bad for you’ crowd finally paid off! The Keto Kid still could buy all the bacon she wanted.
I reminded myself: “Enough fun and games. Get serious. Stick to the plan; you came to get coffee.”
‘Okay, coffee aisle … coffee aisle” I repeated to myself as I rounded an end cap.
When I did, I noticed that something was strangely missing. The sound of conversation and the normal hustle and bustle of a grocery store was gone. No one was making a sound. Everyone was eerily quiet. Even the annoying Muzak wasn’t blaring overhead. Shoppers weren’t even speaking with the people who accompanied them.
It was like a scene out a horror movie.
Everyone had their hands locked onto the bar of their shopping carts [okay: carriages!] With white knuckles, they were slowly and very deliberately shuffling along, avoiding eye contact with anyone else in the store.
No one looked at anyone else; not even when they passed each in the aisle-ways or even during near-collisions that occur when rounding the curve at the ends of the aisles.
Were they filming a monkey apocalypse movie? Were we were all unpaid extras, and no one told us? Such intrigue.
Back To The Business At Hand
Realizing that I had (once again) been sidetracked by the bizarreness of the moment, I reminded myself that I was there on a mission.
I needed to get my coffee and a supply of heavy cream, perchance the entire world would be sequestered for an extended period of time. [Again, it’s not nice to deal with Mother Nature when she has no coffee!]
Ignoring the novice doomsday actors, I braved my way over to the coffee aisle.
Woo Hoo! Lucky me. I scored the very last large box of Green Mountain Dark Magic Keurig cups.
I am a Keto-For-Lifer so, to make good on my coffee score complete, I still needed to stock up on heavy cream. Would there still be any? I wondered.
From the looks of things, the about-to-be-on-house-arrest and predominantly-vegetarian locals had been selectively scarfing up the skim and 2% milk products. This left the full high-fat versions of dairy products for the repugnant carnivores/Keto lovers like me.
Yes, the loud and proud Keto/Intermittent Fasters who consume only high-fat versions of dairy were in a position to stock up. “Their loss”, I quipped to myself as I shrugged and raised my eyebrows. I then proceeded to reach over to score three 32 oz containers of heavy cream.
Satisfied that I had now trapped my necessities, I pointed my carriage (see? I’m adapting) in the direction of the checkout.
But wait! What if the media’s right? What if The Monkey Apocalypse really Is underway?
Always Have A Plan B
In light of that remote possibility, and to make extra-extra-extra sure that I’d be able to have uninterrupted coffee, I whipped a U-Turn. I wheeled back over to the baking needs aisle and then back by the dairy. I scored a few cans of evaporated milk and a couple of pounds of real butter.
Yes, indeed. I wanted to have a back up plan for making Bulletproof Coffee in the event a heavy cream shortage would be next.
And with that, I packed my items into the car. Once again, I donned my night vision goggles, flipped on the light bar, and headed home.
Why Let A Good Panic Go To Waste?
The next day I donned my tin foil hat and pulled up my antennae. I had to. The next day I noticed a number of jets making criss-cross patterns of vapor trails across the sky. The vapor soon fathered out and became a milky white (barium filled?) cloud cover. Hmmmm …
Uh oh … Dare I utter the word? Chemtrails?
I figured, why not? The media was already dispatched out into the field.
Every wanna-be-famous reporter was set up at remote locations, poised and waiting — with their microphones and uplinks on standby. All of them, waiting with baited breath, for their 60 seconds in the spotlight. All of them waiting to make a pithy comment that might possibly get them seen and recruited to a larger media outlet.
Hold Up, Though.
If they started a new new panic, or piggy-backed on this already-occurring one, they’d need to designate a new villain or group of villains to blame.
Hmmmm … Who would they choose? … Who’d take their time in the tank? … Who’d get caught in the cross-hairs and win the Blame Game Lottery for the next panic? Would it be the DEMONcrats or the RepubliCONS? Perhaps it would be those darn aliens? Time would tell.
The way I figured it, the moment they spot nukes over California, or San Andreas started cracking, sending Los Angeles into the ocean, THEN it would be time to panic. THEN it’ll be okay to freak, because when that happens we will ALL be soiling our Depends en masse.
But until then … ‘errbody keep your Hanes in order.
~ Sometimes, laughter really is good medicine.
For years I moonlighted as a serious healthcare administrator. These days I am flying my humor flag and enjoying life. I write to dispel the rumor that I rode off quietly into the sunset. Smile and enjoy the ride. Life is good.