If you’re interested in sharing it, I’m interested in hearing what’s happening in your life and your town as the C-19 crisis unfolds. When talking to friends and colleagues over the past couple of weeks, I got the impression that there were varying degrees of alarm and disruption, depending on geography. Some folks were carrying on as normal. Others were taking the danger seriously.
The reality of the public health emergency belatedly hit my town this week. On Saturday, there were two events in the county: a St. Paddy’s Day parade and a shrimp festival. It seemed foolish to me to hold such events, but despite some controversy, they went on, albeit with lower than expected attendance. I made a grocery store run Sunday, and while there was no toilet paper to be found, there was plenty of food.
Over the weekend, a case of coronavirus was confirmed in the county, and then another. Yesterday, the governor ordered bars and nightclubs shuttered for 30 days and restaurants to operate at a maximum of 50% capacity. According to the news, some beaches are closed down, and at ones that are open, signs warn people not to gather in large groups and to maintain a safe distance from each other.
I decided to go back to the grocery store yesterday. It was a completely different scene than just a few days earlier. The store reeked of bleach. There were empty shelves and bare produce bins. There were no eggs, potatoes or mushrooms. Many shelves containing frozen or canned staples were bare, and there were signs in those areas advising customers that purchases of those products were limited to two per customer. An elderly man in front of me at the checkout line missed that sign, and I thought he might start sobbing when the cashier told him he could only have two of the 20 or so cans he unloaded from his cart.
I was there to stock up on dog food and a couple of other items; I’d made an earlier shopping run to augment my usual two-week hurricane emergency stores. But because I’m a frightened asshole like everyone else, I contributed to the panic buying-induced local food shortage by loading my cart again. Of course, there was still no toilet paper, but if there had been, I’d have thrown that in my cart too. I’m ashamed at how quickly I succumbed to the hoarding impulse.
On the job front, my husband is still going to work every day. He works outdoors and doesn’t have to come within 20 feet of another person to do his job, so his work is unaffected so far. I’ve been working from home for more than 10 years, so social distancing isn’t anything new for me, and I’m staying busy so far. But neither of us know how our employment will be affected long term by large swathes of the economy coming to a standstill for an unknown period. It’s worrisome, but in a back-of-the-mind way right now.
Our elders’ health is our most immediate concern. Every damn one of them had a maddening YOLO attitude last week — even the non-Fox News watchers. But in more recent conversations, they seem to be taking the danger seriously, thank dog. I’ve read about young people going out and partying in groups, smug in the confidence that their youth would protect them. But our daughter (age 21) is behaving sensibly — it was her grandma and great-aunties who were driving us to distraction with their reckless socializing!
Anyway, that’s what’s happening at Chez Cracker. How are things in your town?