Knowing that the virus is only going to become more widespread as each day progresses (and there's now at least one confirmed case in my county) I decided to take on that damn grocery list. I swear to you that we still carry the genes of people who knew that for the sake of their families' survival, food had to be procured, preserved, and put away for times when sources were scarce. Game traveled on to other grazing places, wild fruits and berries had their moments and were abundant and then disappeared. There were the best times to get fish and the best times to gather the herbs and green things and one must take advantage of these yearly events and then salt or dry the gatherings, the catches, the kills so that there would be something to eat when bellies touched backbones during the long, dark days of winter.
We still do have those genes.
I think they are pretty close to the surface in me.
And so this morning I re-wrote my grocery list to try and put things in order as to where they are located in the store and I got dressed in long pants and a long shirt with long sleeves so that I could strip them off when I got home and put them directly into the washing machine and I tucked my debit card in a back pocket and grabbed my Purell, my alcohol spray, and the mask that Jessie gave us. Mr. Moon had washed the mask carefully after using it himself and whether or not that was a good idea, I do not know but I do know that wearing it while still damp did not work.
So the first thing that happened when I got into the store was that I found I could not breathe.
I could not breathe.
Now. Whether this was due to the mask being damp or to me being super anxious, I do not know but when I realized that I was touching my face over and over again to try and adjust the thing so that I could breathe, I took it off.
And then I saw Lily who was doing shopping for Shipt which is a side-hustle she does occasionally and was doing today. And I cried. I just can't bear seeing my babies without being able to touch them, hold them. It's too fucking hard. THIS is my hard thing.
So within the first three minutes of being in the store I'd not been able to breathe, taken my mask off, and was crying.
Ooh boy. This is what happens when someone who is basically agoraphobic has not left her little tiny corner of the world in twelve days and goes out into the market place.
BUT, I carried on.
The store wasn't that crowded, especially at first. Few people were wearing masks of any sort. Some were though. Some were wearing gloves. No one seemed to want to look at anyone else. Announcements were being made regularly to remind people to keep six feet apart for safety. This was not always obeyed but mostly, folks did seem to try and abide by that. I entirely skipped a few aisles on my first go-through because there were others in the aisle. The only thing that I wish I'd gotten and did not was another bag of bread flour and I skipped that because there were two ladies who were standing right there and didn't seem to want to move and I just semi-freaked and went on by.
Not breathing of course.
The shelves were fairly full. Many were completely full. I even managed to get some toilet paper. The good kind. Mega rolls. There were notices on the shelf that we were limited to one package per shopper.
I got everything I think I need although, like I said, I do regret not getting the flour.
I didn't do any impulse shopping except for one thing- I got a can of corned beef. Home made corned beef hash is something that is truly a deeply loved comfort food of mine that I have not eaten in probably twenty or so years. So.
Oh! And I got hotdogs. Don't even ask me why.
I did not get buns. I am making buns. We are going to have some damn hot dogs and baked beans and sweet potato fries for supper tonight. With a salad. And that is okay.
I checked out and had another small breakdown at the cash register. I fucking apologized to the lady who was checking me out as well as the bagger.
"For what?" the checker asked me.
"Oh for everything," I said. "I'm buying so much."
"Honey, we appreciate it," she said. "Don't apologize."
Those people are the damn heroes. Lily and Lauren and Jason and all of the people making barely above minimum wage keeping the shelves stocked and pretty and neat and tidy and helping us to find things and doing all of this for the most part without masks or gloves. Yes, our medical people are heroes too but they are, hopefully, being given protective equipment and clothing. And when you go to school to become a professional in the health care profession you accept that part of your job is going to be exposed to people with contagious diseases.
Not to this degree, certainly, but still.
Whereas when a sixteen year old fills out a form at Publix to get a job, passes the piss test and becomes an employee, I doubt it ever crosses her mind that one day she may be exposing herself daily to global pandemic.
I am humbled to my knees by them.
I loaded my car up, I used alcohol and Purell before I touched anything inside it.
I drove home, first listening to NPR, then saying, "Fuck this," and changed the station to one blasting Aretha and I turned it up and that was the best thing about my whole day.
Came home, unloaded the car little-by-little and wiped off everything with bleach cleaner before I put it away. I doubt this is helpful in the least. I KNOW what sterile procedure is and bringing groceries into a house and trying to recreate what they do in an operating room is impossible. That's all there is to it.
But you do what you can do, right?
So this took over an hour and when it was finally all done and I'd eaten some lunch and taken a shower and changed clothes again, I collapsed.
I was done and done and done and as wrung out as a pasta noodle left in a boiling pot of water for way too long.
I had to lie down and I did and I fell asleep and when I woke up Mr. Moon kept apologizing for making noises that no doubt woke me up.
I did not hear a thing.
I know that I am completely overly dramatic. I mean- I went to the grocery store. I did not cross enemy lines to save a fellow soldier. I did not do a twelve-hour shift in the contagion ICU ward. I did not do a shift at Publix. I did not go hunt the wooly mammoth.
But this is how I reacted. And this is how it felt for me to shop for groceries on April 6, 2020.
Sure didn't see this coming.
I feel better now. I've slept, I've had coffee. I've gone about my routine.
And I ain't leaving Lloyd for at least a month if I can help it.
I do believe I have enough groceries to make that happen.
Here's what I'm going to turn into our salad tonight.
Man, it's gonna suck when all these greens are gone. I'm going to plant another row of arugula tomorrow to see if I can keep some of that, at least.
Tell me what you did today and tell me how it felt.
My day sucked, kept crying at work. My son is horrible and threatening people. It makes me feel sick to my stomach. I can't even believe he's my son anymore.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry shopping was so hard for you. All your worst fears realized. Glad you can stay home. Sending love.
He is NOT the son you know. That's all there is to it. The drugs have taken him over. I am so sorry. This has to be incredibly stressful.Delete
Oh lord, I did nothing in comparison. Walked in new, fluffy snow to the end of our driveway. Made a single batch of doughnuts. Did dishes by hand. Not stressful at all compared to your jaunt. I like getting groceries but hate hauling all the bags to the house. I like putting the groceries away. Washing them first won't be so much fun. That's the normal. I have yet to be in the store since serious staying home began -- we have deep freezes and I live with a beef farmer who gardens veggies too. Oh and I practised my guitar and piano (minimally but it counts). -KateReplyDelete
I need to glue some of the black notes back on my old, old, terribly-out-of-tune piano and see what I can play. That might be a cheerful thing to do. Thanks for reminding me, Kate.Delete
Like you read my mind!!ReplyDelete
Really? I thought I was the only one who gets so stressed out so easily. I'm glad to hear I'm not.Delete
Your thinking seems very rational to me. Things are going to peak soon and I too plan to keep my ass home for a solid month.ReplyDelete
That's my goal, Jill. We're safe at home.Delete
Your reaction made me weep because it's something I think so many of us are struggling with right now while doing the bare minimum of essential things! How can one NOT become Emotional really... and not being able to be with and hug our Loved Ones not living with us is brutal and so hard! A Blogger who is a WWII Survivor said the War was awful, but at least they had one another, she lives alone now and feels she has no-one and said it's so much worse, this Pandemic... Humans were meant to be Social Beings, this is a Cruel Parasitic Enemy, this Virus!ReplyDelete
This is different in that way. And it's just damn hard. You're right- we are meant to be social beings and some of us are just very physical when it comes to our loved ones. Just being able to touch the top of a child's head is such a pleasure. It's not even the hugs and kisses so much as it's just the simple touch.Delete
I marched up the hill and then marched back again. I just want to know when we are at the top of this hill and know we are walking down into the future.ReplyDelete
Good point, Joanne. And I don't think there's going to be any way of knowing.Delete
I also went to the store, homemade mask on, and had very much the same experience. I’ve never bought so much random shit in my life as I have on these pandemic shopping trips.ReplyDelete
I really only got what was on my list except for a few things. And still- it was ridiculous how much I bought. But- about four weeks' worth in reality and that's a lot of stuff.Delete
Today i went to my job cleaning house and running errands for a lady who turned 82 yesterday and who only goes outside to put the cats in the "patio" for their outdoor time each morning. If you have lysol spray, use that on the mask, not water, it's what i have to do.ReplyDelete
It's all we can do, what we have to.
Yes. We can only do what we can. Be safe when you're out running those errands. I know you are but I still feel the need to say it.Delete
I feel that way anytime I get a package or food by my door...Sending a virtual hug.ReplyDelete
Sending one back, e!Delete
I also made a quick grocery store run today, and it's funny how you mentioned people not making eye contact. That's something I've noticed too and I've also noticed myself doing it....like I'm embarrassed to catch another person's eye. So weird. Everything is weird.ReplyDelete
Exactly! Either embarrassed or a little pissed off. Like- what are you doing in my space? And not a close space, either. We're all just afraid.Delete
I woke up with a start and dealt with Sophie, and then I taught an adorable student his last English Language Arts class before Spring Break. Then I cleaned and made some Italian lentil soup for Sophie and me, because Oliver and Carl won't eat that kind of thing. Then I helped Oliver with his college shit -- making his schedule for next fall and changing his major and so forth, and then I talked to Henry and texted with a bunch of girlfriends and went outside at some point and walked around the yard and came inside and baked an apple pie and that's it. Oh, and I watched an episode of "Unorthodox" and thanked my lucky stars that I'm not teaching in that community anymore. But you MUST watch that series.ReplyDelete
Good Lord! That's more than I do in a week.Delete
I will watch that series. I had already put it on my mental list. Pretty authentic, then?
Oh Mary this is just the best post! A day in the life of Rona, uninfected angst. Going to the grocery store is epic! It is four oclock in the morning, I don[t know what day this is, I made two meat loaves and shifted the lemon tree to the sofa so it could have a better view of the neighborhood, told my shoe to fuck off when I stepped into it and caught my toe nail. this is the fifth week of staying home, all is well. Be careful out there in Florida land, seems that your gov is following the rump playbook. This is going to take a while they say, possibly over a year for the virus to run out of hosts. Of course it will mutate and do what it must and there will be fewer folks on the planet. A breather for the earth.ReplyDelete
By the time this is over, we'll be insane. Or in the case of some of us- insaner. I will be careful. I am expecting a horrible uptick in cases two weeks after Easter Sunday. It's just pure murder.Delete
I'm glad I'm not the only one who draws similarities to foraging. I feel like I'm leaving a cabin and going into town for spices, medicines and candies for the children.ReplyDelete
There's only so much news about this virus that a person can take. We need more Aretha moments right now.
Definitely more Aretha moments.Delete
we are more and more reluctant to leave the house. and we only go grocery shopping now. there is nothing else out there that tempts me. I've put off tiling the step because that involves going to a big store to get the thinset and I won't expose myself or Rocky for something that has waited 2 ½ years. and I have a huge project to keep me busy...fence clearing. we will have to make a run to the grocery store in the next couple of days. our case count in the county nearly doubled over the last several days to 16.ReplyDelete
I was thinking this morning how odd it is to even consider going shopping for "things" that I don't really need.Delete
Our case counts are increasing in a very frightening way.
Don't kill yourself on that fence project.
Your trip to the grocery store sounds just like my experience. And, like you, I needed to nap after my excursion, not because it was so physically demanding, but because it was emotionally and mentally draining. I am only going out to the store every two-three weeks. As long as we can last. Every once in awhile, I find myself wondering when things will be "normal" again...but then I think, I'm not sure anything will ever be quite the same as it was. Hopefully, much more sane, but probably not exactly as before. sigh.ReplyDelete
I don't think that things will ever be quite the same either. Not sure what that means but we'll see. If we're lucky.Delete
Can you even imagine "running into the store" to get a few items? Ha!
Oh my gosh you poor thing. I do feel for you. It's funny what different advice we're being given over here (in France at least though). Nobody is washing their groceries that I know of, nor parcels from Amazon or anything. I'm certainly not. And I don't know of anyone who throws their clothes in the wash coming back from the store (again, I tend to strip back down to shorts and T-shirt but I don't wash the clothes). I know the virus can be carried on all this stuff but it's just not stuff we're being told to do. Again, "another interesting social experiment" to see what the correct advice is/was I guess! Take care and well done for being so intrepid. AnnaReplyDelete
I think that the virus can live on surfaces (including clothing) for quite awhile and ideally, we'd have some way to be truly effective in removing it before we brought the things into our house but I don't think we do.Delete
I shopped today too. I SO identify with your comment about no one wanting to look at anyone else. There is a weird I'm-not-engaging vibe that goes with this virus, like we not only have to keep distant physically but also psychologically.ReplyDelete
I didn't wear a mask at the store. I'm still not on board with the mask thing.
Glad you got some Aretha into your day! Maybe you should drive around blasting Aretha a little more often?!
Oh, and just FYI, I don't wash my clothes when I get home and I don't wipe down the groceries. I don't think the virus lives very long on surfaces so I'm gambling that if it's not already dead by the time it gets to my house it will be soon. I religiously wash my hands, though.Delete
Well, from what I read, the virus CAN life on surfaces for quite awhile. Like hours and days. Can it survive the freezer? Hell if I know. There's just so much we don't know and somehow that's the scariest part.Delete
I shopped too! And took some groceries round to my parents...had to stand outside their garden to talk from a big safe distance but it was good to see them. Also reading, a little bit of gardening and had lunch with my son before he went to work. Strange times xx enjoy your supper xxReplyDelete
Glad you got to have a little visit with your parents, if even from a distance. They're lucky to have you to shop for them.Delete