This is a bit of a troubling read, but I had to let it out, and eventually we get back to the good. And this was actually written last night, so the date references are now slightly wonky…
It was announced earlier this evening that Dallas County has been ordered to “shelter in place”, effective tomorrow at midnight. My first thought was that there is going to be a mad rush of folks racing to get supplies. (Which is really not necessary because essential services, like grocery stores, are going to remain open and we are allowed to go to places like that. There has been no indication that the supply chain is in serious jeopardy, just a little slow with certain items because people have been hoarding.)
So, my second thought was that we should not contribute to the madness by joining the rush. We have plenty of food, and our gas tanks are full, because we have been anticipating this development. Naturally, my third thought, because even the best of us experience mild panic in times like this, was that maybe we should pick up a few more things, just in case. (For the record, I have an anxiety disorder. Not offering this as an excuse, merely setting the scene for my state of mind.)
We went to one of our local Kroger grocery stores. It was moderately busy, but we’ve seen it much worse. Everyone was very polite (there was a charming young lady who was personally sanitizing each shopping cart as we took one), everyone was behaving respectfully (although it was clear that some folks did not understand the “Six Feet” aspect of social distancing, despite the signs posted everywhere), and there was no bickering or fighting as people calmly selected items and placed them in their carts.
But it was very quiet. Too quiet. Many of the aisles were well-stocked, but others had a few gaps, starkly empty sections. No bread. No milk. No hamburger meat. (My apologies to vegans. I know I shouldn’t, but I still do.) Of course, these three items are hoarder targets, and the evidence of their self-indulgence was clear. Again, supply chain is fine, if people would just act accordingly. Still, it was unsettling.
And the children. They aren’t sure what’s going on, but they know something is bothering Mommy and Daddy and Big Sister. They know they should be going to pre-school but they aren’t. They know the bread aisle shouldn’t look like that. They sat calmly in their little seats in the slow-rolling carts and didn’t try to grab every package of cookies or donuts they passed.
Suddenly, I just wanted to be out of there. It was surreal, so… out of balance. The quiet and the subdued conversations and the gaps. I wanted to be home, where I couldn’t see this even though I would still feel it. I didn’t push the issue, but I stopped picking things out. Partner knows most of my anxiety triggers, and he knows the evacuation plans. We made our way through check-out (polite, respectful, subdued, more misunderstanding of “Six Feet”) and we were soon in the car, driving away.
Back at the house, we added our new-found stock to our already-stuffed pantry. I fed the stray cats on the patio. (Yes, they are still there, for those who know the story. Yes, I know I shouldn’t. But my heart won’t let me not.) I texted with my mother, checking on the status of an elderly aunt in Tulsa. She’s in the hospital, critical condition. It was sudden, unexpected, body shutting down. The latest is that she is stabilized, improving even, responding to stimuli and cognizant. The doctors think it might be Covid-19. No one is sure, though. Test results are still pending.
It has not been a good day, dear readers.
For some distraction, we watched tonight’s episode of “The Walking Dead”, even though I initially balked at the idea, not really interested in anything involving a virus, not right now. But I’m glad that we did. It was beautifully done. (For those who still consider this show merely a “zombie” series, it is SO much more than that.) The episode had powerful moments and layered reflections, with an emphasis on how the choices we make in life can change everything. It seems silly to say, and a bit discordant, but a mere episode of a TV show stopped my emotional freefall. At least for a little while.
I’m still worried about what’s happening around me, and I should be, but I needed a kick in the ass to get me to grasp a random tree branch as I fell, climbing my way back up the hill. This is the time and the place for all of us to be branches, catching those who are falling, dusting off limbs, bandaging. We will climb this hill. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but there will be a horizon, and we will reach it.
To all my friends, near and very, very far, please keep yourselves safe. Please do the right thing when it comes to you and yours and even strangers. Please. You into We into Us into All.
P.S. I have unleashed 7 posts in roughly 72 hours, an output that is not that remarkable to some prolific bloggers but is a rarity here at Bonnywood. I know I’m behind with the comments and reactions. But frankly, that’s the least of my worries right now. I’m busy with branches. I’ll get around to all of you, eventually. And when we finally reach the hilltop, I expect every one of you to sing along with me. It’s just what we do at Bonnywood…
Addendum: As mentioned, this was written last night. I’m in a much better mood today, even though the official “lock-down” will have started by the time I post this. And I almost didn’t post it, instead running an old Past Imperfect in the interim so I could think about whether or not I should. It’s self-pitying and mildly pathetic. (There are much worse things that could be happening.) But it’s also an honest snapshot of my thoughts at the time, and that’s something I want to keep. We write for many reasons, and one of them is so we will remember all the various colors of our days…