Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Green and Beer It
Okay, we missed St. Patrick's Day by 24 hours, but we went with the cartoon anyway because we promised the young woman in the cartoon that we could "get her into showbiz" and didn't want to disappoint her.
Having Irish blood ourself, we were disappointed that Covid-19 shut down all of the usual celebrations, but we successfully made do by watching "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" while drinking a Guinness.
All in all, not a bad day in the midst of Apocalypse. And certainly better than a friend of ours had...
Clearly someone hadn't really thought through this allegedly simple self-test, although we assume that it will still work for people who aren't Bernie Sanders supporters. And actually, we wouldn't want to bet on the accuracy of such a test, though it's not a bad thing to try anyway. Unless immediately upon finishing, you gasp in air at the same time someone is sneezing several billion virus particles at your face.
According to articles which we're too lazy to find and link to, it's folks around Lucy's age who don't seem to be getting the message about self-isolating to slow the spread of Covid-19. Many of them are aware that the mortality rate for people their age is very, very low (but not nonexistent). But it doesn't reduce their likelihood of infecting others, including grandparents who may be facing a mortality rate in the 15% range.
Hopefully, Lucy's friends will get the message and start staying home instead of going clubbing. Otherwise, the police may need to use some clubbing to get their attention.
BONUS: THAT'S ONE...SMALL STEP...FOR GROCERIES
The chaos being caused by Covid-19 was, until recently, something that we personally weren't experiencing firsthand. Well, apart from having our retirement portfolio unexpectedly throw us to the ground and giving us a Brokeback Mountain-style colonoscopy.
But yesterday, between growing reports of a possible lockdown or another wave of madness at stores, we decided we needed to get a few more items for our self-isolation time. Uh-oh.
We'd already heard reports that, in the initial scare, our quiet, local supermarket had lines of shoppers (each with Armageddon-ready baskets of stuff) stretching to the back of the store...and there were fist fights in the aisles that police had to break up. And as an additional bonus, any of these people might be spreading coronavirus everywhere - a very special worry since folks at the Jarlsberg home are in high risk groups.
So we planned our trip to the store down to the last detail: we'd go at 10:30 pm when crowds were likely to be low, we'd have an anti-viral N95 mask and nitrile gloves, we'd have hand sanitizer in the car, and a complete change of clothing waiting just inside the door of our home so we could shed potentially contaminated garments.
Arriving at the store, we were pleased to see that the dark parking lot was sparsely populated, so decided to move ahead with the operation. Before exiting the vehicle, we donned our gloves and our mask - feeling like we were preparing to rob a bank. And - oh yeah! - in order for the mask to function properly, we'd had to shave off our magnificent white Santa beard and return to looking like a turtle with a moustache.
Entering the store, we felt terribly weird and conspicuous wearing all of this stuff. The effect wasn't helped by the fact that we were mouth-breathing and sounding like Darth Vader, and that with every exhalation our glasses fogged up from the inside. Yeah, nothing creepy about THAT.
Happily, the store had very few shoppers - although only one other person was wearing a mask. There were employees in many aisles restocking stripped shelves (not with Purell, darn it) and we drifted past them like an asthmatic ghost.
Some shelves were bare: fresh meats, anything remotely like bread, toilet paper and paper towels, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, etc. Various other shelves were either stripped or greatly reduced from their usual capacity. That being said, we were able to find plenty of things worth buying.
Still, the overall emotional impact was a lot more than we expected. It felt like a nightmare made real, and made worse by the knowledge that we wouldn't be waking up from this anytime soon. And while shopping, we were constantly wondering if we should buy more of this or that, just in case it wouldn't be available in the very uncertain future. Or perhaps ever. And all of this with fogging eyesight and sweat trickling inside the mask and gloves. The undercurrent of desperation was all too tangible.
During checkout, which we did at self-check to avoid having others touch our groceries, we finally struck up a conversation with another human being - a nice store employee who didn't recognize our beardless, masked face. She saw dog food and dog treats in the cart and asked about our dogs - and it was wonderful to have someone just talk about something so normal and treating us like we were normal despite our odd getup and profuse sweat.
We chatted for five minutes or so about dogs and how much we love them (and how much they love us back). She showed us a picture of her labrador retriever - a beauty who, at 16 years of age, went to dog heaven just three days before Christmas. The store employee got a little misty sharing her story, and made us promise to give ear rubs to our dogs as soon as we got home.
After nearly two hours in the store, we left - thanking all of the employees along the way for the hard work and the extended hours they were putting in for the good of others. We then loaded everything into our car's trunk, after which we oh-so-carefully removed the mask and gloves in the parking lot and dropped them into a trash can near the shopping cart corral. Entering the car, we gave ourselves a little Purell party before touching anything, then slowly drove home after midnight thinking about how real this strange new world had suddenly become.
At home, we exchanged our potentially contaminated clothes for clean ones, used lysol wipes on our shoes (including, especially, the soles), then scrubbed up like we were preparing for surgery. Zombie-ish by this time, and emotionally drained, we wanted nothing more than to fall into bed in search of a long and dreamless sleep. So that's what we did.
Right after giving our dogs those promised ear rubs.
Posted by Stilton Jarlsberg at 12:01 AM