Plague Diary: March 16, 2020


This morning I ran out to the grocery store (where I have spent more money in the last two weeks than I have in the two months previous) because I thought Irish Stew sounded like a good idea, because comforting, not because of the holiday ( one of the worst, but more on that tomorrow).

I foolishly went to the giant supermarket, which had deep post-apocalypse vibes, from the empty shelves to the ominous signs to the number of cops in the parking lot (to referee fights between toilet paper hoarders?). There was no meat or dairy left, but plenty of fresh thyme, which is exactly what I needed. An employee brought out a cardboard display of hand sanitizer while I was in the check-out line. I’ve been operating out of a real hand-sanitizer deficit since this thing started (after I was in the hospital for a mega-bug back in the fall THAT HAND SANITIZER DOES NOT KILL, an and kind of just decided that it wasn’t worth it, when I could just wash my hands), but I picked up a couple of bottles before the two men behind me started to tussle over the remaining fifty.

At the liquor store the employees rang up my bottles and asked if I had relatives in Philly. “Everybody that knows people in Philly is panic-buying,” the guy said. “You know they closed the liquor stores up there.” I did.

“There’s a rumor they’re going to close ours,” said the woman behind me in line. And that rumor was why I went out for handle of gin at 9:30 on a Monday morning just in case.

To be clear: I have plenty of booze, enough that if I were to even put a dent in what’s in the larder, I’d probably have to chase this Coronavirus with a stint in Betty Ford. But, you know, you do dumb things to feel weirdly secure.

If you have to go out, I had better luck shopping at the smaller stores. They still have things (Yorkshire Gold, produce, plenty of fancy cheese for panic consumption) and at the co-op, it was nice to see familiar faces, even at a six foot remove.

“This is the worst,” said a friend who works there. We’re huggers, she and I, and it was weird to just sort of wave across the expanse, but her face is a hopeful one, and she still smiled gloriously, so that’s a silver lining.

“Remember, when this is over,” I said. “Parties and hugs.

“”So many parties and hugs,” she said.

As of this writing, 77,567 people have recovered from COVID-19.

The Author

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