Monday, March 2, 2020

Shopping for the Apocalypse

Ah, coro.navi.rus. It's here, and whether or not we're actually living at the beginning of the Georgian Bird Flu epidemic in Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel (which I kind of want to reread but also feel it might freak me out), it's necessary to grocery shop. It just looks a little different when you're stocking a two-week pantry after various people who are pretty reasoned don't laugh when you tell them about "survival shopping." 

I had a big cart, which I usually don't enjoy (we have these two-tier short carts that are great and not unwieldy at all), but I needed to get a boatload of gluten free mac and cheese (the kind that doesn't need milk or butter), and canned gf soups, and tuna, and peanut butter, and at least 30 rolls of toilet paper. I have an irrational fear of running out of toilet paper in an emergency, that started when a coworker's sister was stuck in the freak 7-foot snowfall in Buffalo a few years ago and toilet paper was like GOLD. I try to always have extra on hand, but I wanted a super stash. 

Just in case. 

All these things are stuff we'd use anyway; it just feels weird to every day wonder where the next case will crop up and how quickly it will spread and cause some level of chaos. It's the chaos that scares me more than the virus, even though I have asthma and respiratory illnesses are the devil for me (but otherwise I'm youngish and healthyish). 

When I first read Station Eleven, it brought up moments of "ohhhhh, I will totally not survive an event like this." Mostly because people ran out of medication, and if I run out of asthma medication I am no longer controlled, and there's a scene where nothing good happens to someone who's been out of their antidepressants, and although I might run out blood pressure medicine I'd probably not be feasting during a dystopian future, so maybe that would sort itself out. 

It's weird feeling a bit like every day seems a little more like living in one of the novels I enjoy so much. Will the economy collapse? Will there be marauders? Do I need to come up with an edgy post-apocalyptic name and shave half my head so I'm not a target? 

I would like to point out that I am not actually panicking, just exploring all possible options in my weird brain. And hoping that the next time I go to the grocery store I don't feel embarrassed by my cart and like I have to mutter about my 5 kids to cover up for the kinda-sorta-minor-prepping that I'm engaging in (which I'm sure didn't occur to anyone else, even though I was totally checking out other carts to see if I wasn't the only one following the zillions of "what to buy for a pandemic" lists out there). 

Interesting times. 

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  1. You are not alone in your fear of running out of toilet paper! Apparently, that is the main thing that people are panic-buying.

    I think that when we've already lost our feelings of invincibility, it is very easy to feel vulnerable in times of uncertainty. I'm hoping very much that it is all an over-reaction.

  2. It is definitely an interesting time - like you, my brain has been playing out all the scenarios/fears/ideas. Some of it is that we just know so little about this virus and how much to fear (or not) or the ways in which it will (or will not) upset life. Like Mali, I hope that this will pass and turn out to be an over-reaction, but yeah, also have definitely been prepping here...

  3. yea weird times, almost like the start of a zombie movie haha. We stocked up on disinfectant products, toilet paper, pasta, porridge, lactose free H milk, and oat milk. We don't have a big freezer or a pantry otherwise we would probably have bought more stuff just in case.

  4. Every day gets weirder and weirder. I'm wondering how long a story arc this is going to be.

  5. Just came back here to say thank you.

    I have what I call "grocery store anxiety." I get anxious when going to the grocery store when it's crowded, especially on the days leading up to Thanksgiving or a hurricane. So when I read this post I made a mental note to go grocery shopping the next day and to pick up some things I don't normally buy but that I was low on, like dish soap.

    Um... Thank you!!! Little did I know that that was going to be my last "big" grocery store trip for... Who knows how long. I've been twice since, but just in and out for a few basics and just for what they had in stock of course.

    Just wanted you to know that your blog post motivated me to go to the store the next day and I am still comfortable because of that trip (and my rationing). You really helped me. <3