Captains Log, Star Date: The Ides Of March 2020
Say What?

Overall, I’ve remained pretty low key during the mass hysteria and panic buying surrounding the corona virus, only going out to stockpile ‘necessities’ a couple of times.

When the stock market first started getting squirrelly and tripped the circuit breaker on March 9, my friend called me in a panic. It was first thing in the morning—before I’d even had time to have my coffee. (It’s not nice to speak to Mother Nature before she’s had her coffee.)

She exclaimed: “The stock market is crashing. Come on. We need to get to the stores right away …  before everyone panics and starts making a run on the banks and stores.”

That turned out to be very good and timely advice, even if it was a bit panicky.

She doesn’t drive so I told her that as soon as I made my bed and gulped down some coffee that we’d head out to the store.

Krogers, Oh Krogers, Wherefore Art Thou, Krogers?

Our local grocery store (part of the Albertson’s family of stores) apparently hadn’t anticipated the possibility of a run on cleaning supplies when they decided what to include in their weekly circular because Clorox Antibacterial wipes were a featured sale item: Buy 2, Get 1 Free.

Jackpot.

As I was checking out with my cart—loaded down with Scentiva disinfectant spray for kitchen surfaces and 9 containers of Clorox wipes—I got the side eye from the cashier, bagger, and several customers behind me.

I laughed and said: “Hey, I’m no conspiracy theorist. As a matter of fact, I don’t even watch the news … Not CNN … Not Fox … and I absolutely detest hearing about politics. But I wouldn’t put it past the media to whip whatever is happening into a major crisis and milk it for all it’s worth.”

Again, more side eye.

See? What’d I Tell Ya?!

Within just a few days, a revisit to that store looked as if the government had declared Marshall Law and massive looting had occurred. The only thing missing from the visual was broken windows and shards of glass all over the parking lot.

Upon arriving home and putting away the supplies, I went back to my normal daily routine. When working on my computer, I gave only cursory glances at the news headlines (only because we can’t avoid them entirely) but I refused to get sucked into reading the exploding numbers of ‘breaking news’ articles that turned out to be nothing more that reworded content, all saying exactly the same thing as The Bog Boys.

I have to admit that I began paying more attention when church services started being limited to 50 people, the schools began closing, and restaurants switched to take-out only. I didn’t care about bars and night clubs. The way I figure it, people can drink and dance at home.

Then came ‘the biggie”—The Great Toilet Paper Shortage Of The New Millenium.

Wait? What?! It can’t be! We have three (3) people in our household with physician diagnosed IBS. Ooh, this could get dicey.

Oh Gimme A (Coffee) Break

Still pondering that thought, I got up from my computer and walked over to the Keurig machine here in my writing room. I opened the drawer and slowly reached in to grab a fresh pod to drop into the machine and lower the handle so that within seconds I could  begin smelling the wonderful aroma of my long-time best friend—coffee.

Then it hit me.

Uh oh! I’d let the entire weekend slip away while I was engrossed in writing and web fun. I’d been so busy that I’d failed to notice that I was running low on K-Cups. I rolled my eyes and sighed heavily, figuring that I’d better make a run to the grocery store before it closed.

Homesick Feeling

It was Sunday night and already getting dark. I don’t know if you’ve ever visited here, but in this part of New England, they roll up the sidewalks as soon as the sun’s shadows even begin to elongate. I kid you not!

Due to circumstances I cannot change just yet, I’ve trying to appreciate the gift to of getting to live here—going on three years now. I’m glad that I have somewhere to call home, but I’m having difficulty adjusting to the harsh culture shock.

Like Dorothy in the Wizard Of Oz when she tells Toto, “You’re not in Kansas anymore”, I find myself frequently mumbling “Remember, you’re not in Ohio anymore, so deal with it.”

Sigh … There are no Krogers here … There are no Giant Eagles Stores … There are no Meijers … Nope … Nada … Don’t even think about it! … There are no grocery stores, or anything else for that matter (except the occasional pharmacy or jail) that stays open, brightly lit, and staffed 24X7.

When you move to New England, you learn rather quickly that you gotta ‘get while the gettin’s good’, and by that I mean, get whatever you think you might need before 5 PM when you start hearing the grating mechanical sound of the sidewalks starting to retract. 

Okay, Okay, I’m Going … aka The Schlep

Going to the grocery store here after dark presents it’s own set of challenges. I won’t be cruel and divulge which particular state in New England that is on my drivers license, but let’s just say that it’s claim to fame is being very, very small—the smallest state in the nation.

Apparently the brilliant lawmakers here vetoed street lights as a frivolous luxury (Pffffttt! who needs to see the roads when you drive?) opting to use the excessively high tax revenue they shake you down for, to be ‘reallocated’ for other things. (Dunno what.) It’s extremely obvious that the diverted $$$ is not being used on roads and infrastructure. (What’s up with that?!)

It’s crazy ridiculous. I’ve never seen such a dark place in my life! … I take that back. yes, I have … the back alleys of South Detroit that we see depicted in B-rated movies. End of editorial.

In any event, I decided that my love of coffee outweighed the annoyance of going out after dark. (I knew I should have forked over the money and had those 17,000 lumen light bars mounted to the top of the car for night driving!)

So, driving very carefully wearing my night vision goggles, I arrived at the grocery store.

Cover Me, I’m Going In

I grabbed and sanitized a shopping cart (or ‘carriage’ as the locals call them). Pitching my used antibacterial wipe in the trash can (they call them ‘trash barrels’ here) I proceeded to walk down the aisle and through the produce section.

There were NO potatoes of any kind.

Had I missed it? Was the media also doing a retrospective on the 1845 Potato Famine?

I rounded the first corner and walked past the deli counter (everything looked normal there) only to find the entire long meat case naked and bare—with the exception of the still-remaining full display of bacon.

Do the Happy Dance!

Finally, all that hocus-pocus propaganda that the ‘saturated fat is bad for you’ crowd spews finally pays off! The Keto Kid can buy all the bacon she wants.

Enough Fun And Games, Stick To The Plan

But you came for coffee, I reminded myself. Stop getting sidetracked. Okay, coffee aisle … coffee aisle … I whispered to myself as I rounded an end cap.

As I did, I noticed that something was strangely missing. The sound of conversation and the normal hustle and bustle of a grocery store was gone. Everyone was eerily quiet. No one was making a sound. Even the normal annoying Muzak wasn’t blaring overhead. Shoppers weren’t even chatting with the people who accompanied them.

It was a scene out a movie. They all had their hands locked onto the bar of their shopping carts (okay: carriages!) With white knuckles, they were slowly and very deliberately shuffling along, not making eye contact with anyone else in the store. Not even the when they passed each other by in the aisle-ways or during the near-collisions that occur when rounding the curve at the ends of the aisles.

Perhaps they were filming a monkey apocalypse movie, we were all unpaid extras, and no one told me.

Back To The Business At Hand

Realizing that I had (once again) been sidetracked by the bizarreness of the moment, I reminded myself that I was there on a mission. I needed to get my coffee—and a supply of heavy cream—perchance the entire world gets sequestered for an extended period of time. (It’s not nice to have to deal with Mother Nature when she has no coffee!)

Ignoring the doom, I braved my way over to the coffee aisle.

Woo Hoo! Lucky me. I scored the very last large box of Green Mountain Dark Magic Keurig cups.

I am a Keto-For-Lifer so—to make good on my coffee score—I still needed to stock up on heavy cream. (Would there still be any? I wondered.)

Jackpot again!

From the looks of things, the about-to-be-on-house-arrest and predominantly-vegetarian locals had been selectively scarfing up the skim and 2% milk products. Pay dirt! This left the high-fat versions of dairy products for the repugnant carnivores/Keto types like me. The loud and proud Keto/Intermittent Fasters who consume only high-fat versions of dairy, or no dairy at all.

Their loss, I quipped to myself as I shrugged and raised my eyebrows. I then reached over and loaded three 32 oz containers of heavy cream into my cart.

Satisfied that I had trapped my items, I pointed my cart/carriage (see? I’m adapting) in the direction of the checkout.

But wait! What if the media’s right? What is The Monkey Apocalypse is on it’s way?

Always Have A Plan B

In light of that remote possibility—and to make extra-extra-extra sure that I’d be able to have uninterrupted coffee—I whipped a U-Turn. I wheeled back over to the baking needs aisle and then buzzed back by the dairy, grabbing a few cans of evaporated milk and a couple of pounds of real butter.

You never know when you might have to improvise. One needs to always have a back up plan for making heavy cream. Especially since we sold Elsie the cow decades ago.

And with that, I packed my items into the car, donned my night goggles again, flipped on the light bar, and headed home.


Post Script

Okay, so here we are today, March 17, 2020 … hunkered down … stocked up … socially distanced … banned from gathering in public … and reduced to eating our meals at home or via take out.

So far, we haven’t heard of any deaths in our state. So the plan may be working. And that’s  good thing. A very good thing.

But Why Let A Good Panic Go To Waste?

Pardon me while I don my tin foil hat and pull up my antennae. I can’t resist indulging in a bit more humor before I leave this subject.

After that day (Sunday March 15th) started out all bright and sunny, with clear blue skies, later in the day, those very same skies became oddly hazy after a number of jets were seen making criss-cross patterns of vapor trails across the sky.

Vapor that soon fathered out to become a milky white (barium filled?) cloud cover. Hmmmm … Uh oh … Dare I utter the word? Chemtrails?

Why not? The media is already dispatched out into the field. Every wanna-be-famous reporter is set up at remote locations, poised and waiting—with their microphones and uplinks on standby. They’re all waiting with baited breath for their 60 seconds in the spotlight, hoping that they can make a pithy comment that might possibly get them seen and recruited to a larger media outlet.

Hold up, though. If we start a new new panic, or build on this already-occurring one, we’re gonna need to designate a new villain or group of villains to blame.

Hmmmm … Who shall it be? … Who’s gonna take their time in the tank? … Who’s gonna get caught in the cross-hairs and win the Blame Game Lottery this time?

Will it be the DEMONcrats? Or the RepubliCONS? Or perhaps, those darn aliens? Only time will tell.

Good boogly-woogly, folks. Hang on. This will all be over soon.

Now, the moment they spot nukes over California, THEN it’ll be time to panic. THEN it’ll be okay to freak, because when that happens we will ALL be voiding in our drawers en masse. But until then … “‘Errbody keep your Hanes in order”.

Sometimes, laughter really is good medicine.

(To be continued)