If I had my life to live over again,
I would elect to be a trader of goods rather than a student of science.
I think barter is a noble thing.
Ok, so I don’t have any Lysol wipes let alone packs of toilet paper.
And I’m hanging onto the less than 10 rolls we’ve got.
But I would love to trade, say, some frozen blueberries from this past summer
if you’re still interested…
I have not wipes nor toilet paper– for this is what specter greeted me this morning
at my grocery store…
The ghost of stores shelves past.
My past or long past you muse…
long past…for our time has been one of amplitude and plenty.
(my store’s shelves / Julie Cook / 2020)
I came, this morning, however, for diapers, waters, fresh fruits, and vegetables
along with some kid and adult-friendly snacks.
I would have liked to have gotten some more chicken and pork chops—but there were none.
I was fortunate in that I got the last pot roast.
The egg shelves were no better.
I managed to snag the far left top dozen.
Well forget it….there wasn’t a sack of sugar to be had in the entire store and cooking oil
wasn’t much better.
The milk you ask.
I was met at the door with the managers wiping down all carts before they handed them over
one by one to each entering customer.
Walking in I was met by a flurry of mostly older shoppers, many decked out in full masks and gloves.
Eyes darting intently here and there over the top of the blue sterile masks.
Yet the gal in the floral department was busying herself with her flowers and for the
briefest of moments, I felt a sense of what was…normal.
The carts now whizzing past me with nervous eyes peering over masks jolted me back to
a frightening new world I’d woken up to.
And what world is this I’ve woken to?
My dentist has canceled my appointment for next week since they’re closing their office.
The shopping center, where our grocery store is located, was much less full given
that the Belks store is closed, as are some of the smaller retail shops.
Just Publix and Target were open—and now their hours are limited.
I watch the cars driving up and down our street and I wonder where they are going.
Our daughter-n-law and the Sheriff are coming down this afternoon to join us and the
Mayor—leaving our son, the dog, and cat at home while he works from home.
Our daughter-n-law will be teaching “remotely’ during the day while we watch the kids…
for how long, is any one’s guess.
If the sun comes back out and things begin to dry out…
life with a rambunctious two-year-old might smooth itself out.
And I am cooking…a lot– but nothing over the top fun as I’ve got to
manage the eggs, milk, sugar, and oil that we currently have.
So as I pushed my cart up and down aisles more empty than full, with fellow
shoppers looking more suspicious at one another than kindly…
I felt warm tears welling up in my eyes.
I felt a sense of deep melancholy wash over me—but I quickly pushed it
I had to be a normal person with a positive outlook for tomorrow.
Not one of the blue masked, darting eyes people!
By the time I got home, my husband wanted to know if I had gotten any frozen foods
or canned goods.
He’s our resident Eeyore with a black cloud over his head.
He also has a friend he’s known since they were kids who has become a
sort of gloom and doom prepper.
He’s watching way too much news.
“Buy up all the cans of beef stew you can find” he lectures my husband.
I told my sweet Eeyore that I had gotten some boxed chicken broth, frozen tater tots
(for the Mayor) since all the frozen mac-n-cheese was gone. I wanted to buy fresh things…
he then warily chides me…what happens when all the fresh is eventually gone
and the shelves remain empty…what then?
And in the back of my mind…I pondered…what then??