It’s pretty insane out there right now. Grocery stores are emptying out at an alarming rate. People are hoarding goods and services are shutting down. Extreme religious and political opinions are circulating on social media right along with unreliable information. The challenge for us all is to resist being the critic and embrace being a force for good.
We will all be affected in significant ways. But we still have comparative abundance. It’s time to be sure that our abundance is shared equitably and that each and every person, business, church, school and non-profit organization looks outward and forward for creative ways to take care of each other. And if you can find the humor in any of this, please do so. It can’t hurt to have a chuckle at ourselves while we get through this all together.
Here are some events from the past few days that have made me ask, “Why? Just why?”
Just why #1: Water
I went to the store and there is no water on the shelves. I don’t understand why there is no water since I haven’t seen that the virus is threatening our water supply and my tap still seems to work. So, why are we hoarding water? At least I still have half a bottle of gin. I’d be happy to share it if you want to come over. Please bring the tonic. The store was out of that too.
I do need to buy distilled water for Arnie’s CPAP machine. Without that machine, his life is in grave danger. Mind you, the danger is not from the device, but from me. If we have to go back to his bone-rattling snoring every night because the machine won’t work, I will lose my Girl Scout cookies.
As a backup precaution, I plan to order one of the supersize My Pillows just in case I have to smother him myself. That’s if I can even get a supersize My Pillow. Maybe people are hoarding them too?
Just why #2 Toilet Paper
People seem to be struggling with the existential question of how they will live when the toilet paper runs out. Maybe this is how we will die; constipated because we are afraid to use the potty without cupboards and closets full of paper in reserve. But do we need advanced wiping technology? Our ancestors’ age-old struggles to find creative ways to clean up their nether regions should give us an appreciation of the Golden Age of Wiping that we are enjoying in 2020. We have left behind (no pun intended) sticks, leaves, stones, used newspapers and the Sears catalog. If the empty shelves are any indication, we are now 100% splinter-free and deathly afraid to go back.
Just why #3 Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip
Ladies, we grew up being told to keep a stiff upper lip. But ponder this. What if the stores run out of razors? What if postmenopausal women everywhere are not able to shave their upper lip? They will practice social distancing willingly rather than risk the humiliation of five o’clock shadow. And if the still-fertile generation of women cannot get razors because you are hoarding them, the birth rate will plummet and the human race will not survive. Evidently, this is a clear and present danger because the store was out of razors.
Just why #4 Anxiety Induced Distraction
I’m so distracted trying to keep up with the latest news. Now, I can’t find my glasses. I put them somewhere this morning when I was busy trying to decide what to take care of first. Looking for them is an exercise in futility anyway. I can’t see the glasses without the glasses.
I was distracted because I was distracted with trying to set reasonable priorities. Should I go out to hunt and gather for water? Should I rip off rationed sections of toilet paper and hide the rest from Arnie so it will last longer? Should I go to the computer and develop an algorithm for how long my last two pink disposable razors should last a woman of my advanced age before I succumb to The Shadow? If I can scientifically predict how long two single blade razors can last, I can ration the number of shaves per week. Information is power.
Arnie helped me look for the glasses. We searched for twenty minutes and tore the house apart with no luck. I didn’t want to buy a new pair because I blew my monthly budget of Clorox wipes, canned vegetables and dry pasta. The glasses were in this house somewhere and the dog didn’t look guilty. I just needed to find them. While I was putting away all of the pre-apocalyptic grocery supplies in plastic tubs and reminiscing about my Dad’s 1950’s nuclear bomb shelter, I leaned over and the glasses fell off my head where they had been all along.
But let’s get real. These are not signs of some catastrophic end of days. Stop all the nonsense tribulation talk on social media. You are scaring yourself and vulnerable others too. The buying frenzy, while troubling and morally questionable, is predictable human behavior in response to uncertainty and anxiety. Stop adding to it. While we are not in control of events, we are in control of how we respond to them. And now is an opportunity to exert some self-control and adjust how we are thinking about our present circumstances.
Now is an opportunity to find new ways in which to change our behavior and conserve on products that we overuse anyway? We are amid a wake-up call to live more lightly and take less for granted. It could be that this is a warning call to change our behavior and tread more reverently on our Earth and on each other.
Today, I will pack two bags. In them, I will put a jar of spaghetti sauce that is cooking in the crockpot, a loaf of banana bread, a roll of toilet paper and a roll of paper towels. Then I will walk over and ask my two elderly neighbors if they are all set. Since we are likely headed towards being cooped up in the house in self-quarantined for a period of time, I’ll remind them that we both have charming front porches to sit and visit on. This will be an excellent time to get to know one another in a deeper more meaningful way.
This is not the end. Let’s make this where we begin.