Shutdown 2020: What Have I Learned? (Part 1)

What have I learned, staying home by myself and not interacting with anyone in person, keeping six feet between me and anyone else when in public or at work, stocking my house like I’m a doomsday prepper, running round the city looking for toilet tissue and paper towels? what have I learned from this pandemic, from my fellow human beings, and from/about myself?

  1. It was a quiet and orderly retreat. For the most part. People just tucked their tails and tucked themselves into their homes meekly and politely, giving Death it due, and room to do its duty.
  2. Selfishness. While we have never truly been a”we” society, communal and sharing, it was still surprising and painful to see how little regard people had for one another during this pandemic. There was enough toilet tissue, paper towels, etc., to go around, if everyone had only taken “some:”, what they needed, or whatever. People were running around trying to find toilet tissue in a shortage created by their own hoarding. If we were more communal, sharing, thoughtful and considerate of your neighbors, we would have tried to leave something for them, for the next person. We would have cared about what happened to the people around us, not just ourselves. It is really annoying how long it took me to find masks online or how the hoarding made me feel like having three four-packs of toilet tissue wasn’t enough. I needed four, but five would be better. Five would put me over the humans I wouldn’t have to worry anymore. Just maintain it at five until this is over, and start getting more canned goods, even though I have enough food for a month, easily, and…
  3. I am grateful for my job. I got my degree in English in December of 2018 and I have been looking for a new job since. I work at a university (where I got my degree). The benefits are great. There is a ton of vacation time. My job is simple; I am rarely overworked. I have been here over twenty years. Et cetera. I have been very picky about this new job. I want to work from him. I want to write for a living. That pickiness, well. I don’t have a new job. I still have my old job and it’s one of the best jobs in the world right now. We haven’t been fired. We are still receiving full pay. I am blessed to still be here and I can only wonder if I would be in as good a position if I was working somewhere else. Would I have been fired? Would my pay have been cut? Would they have tried as hard to take care of me? Some setbacks are blessings. This job is gold now. Be grateful for what you have. If you have food, shelter and clothing and access to good health care…
  4. Stock up. My mother has been telling me to stock up for years. “You never know when something will happen.” Countless times, over the years. And, I listened to her. I slowly built up a small stock of all kinds of things. Canned goods, especially. A first aid kit. Candles, flashlights, batteries. Water in big blue jugs. A crankable, rechargeable AM/FM radio. Did she mention toilet tissue? She probably did, but I only had a package and half when this thing jump-started and after the panic happened, six rolls didn’t feel like enough. Two weeks’ worth is what most people say you need, but for one person that isn’t even four rolls, and we know that isn’t going to do it. Don’t we?
  5. Get plenty of rest. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Don’t touch your face. Stay home if you’re sick. Drink plenty of fluids. 
  6. Social distancing.
  7. More people have worn a  face mask during this pandemic than in the last ten years or more combined…or more.
  8. How to work from home. 
  9. How to learn from home.
  10. The pros and cons of grocery and food delivery. Especially from restaurants. Add tax, delivery charges, and a tip and the bill can be almost as much as the meal itself. AND, check the price of the meal on the delivery site (GrubHub, Uber Eats) against the price of the meal on the  restaurant’s website. Many of them add a dollar or two to the price on the delivery site.
  11. Walmart and Sam’s Club >Costco. They all had shortages of toilet paper, disinfect, etc. But the Costco near me, the one to which I am a member, also ran out of food, almost all of it. I had toilet paper, and paper towels. I was worried about not finding food in the stores around me. I can wipe my behind with a rag and throw it in the washing machine. Food is a different story. Walmart and Sam’s Club, run by the same corporation, owned by the same family, kept food on the shelves, for which I am grateful, and kept their doors open. Costco was a real letdown for me, and probably a lot of people. A wholesaler is exactly what you need in a pandemic, but they couldn’t keep up with the demand. I’m thinking I should switch to Sam’s Club, in case something like this happens again in my lifetime.

I’ll do another one of these. I think I have to say.

What have you learned?

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