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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Battle on aisle fifteen

A live (hopefully) blog from the Wuhan coronavirus apocalypse

4:45 am Overslept. Took temperature: 88 degrees F. No sign of fever. Maybe the thermometer is broken.

6:01 am Planning my normal trip to the grocery store. Not sure which weapon I may need. A scythe would seem overly dramatic. We shall see. I hope I will survive the battle.

6:05 am Wasted several minutes scrolling through emails from companies I do business with. They're all telling me they're “committed to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.” One tells me they may be out of stock on “some cleaning and personal care products.”

This is the company that sells us pencils and Scotch tape. It's not looking good.

Toilet paper aisle in Kroger
Toilet paper aisle in Kroger

6:17 am More emails from the university reminding us that we must not meet any students in person, all classes are now done over the Internet, and we must register all personal or professional travel. The housekeeping staff will be sanitizing all the classroom chairs, towel dispensers, and computer keyboards. Also, I am still overdue for my mandatory Title IX Sexual Harassment Training. My ploy of reporting it as a phishing attempt has failed.

Solid gold toilet paper
Solid gold toilet paper: easier to find

Update: I just got a notice that there's mandatory Suicide and Self-Harm training for all university personnel. How thoughtful!

6:22 am Scrolling on the Web through stories of people fighting over toilet paper and hand sanitizer, mixed with anti-Trump screeds posing as news. Found one about something besides Wuhan Coronavirus: It's about a guy buying a Geiger counter to make sure he's not getting exposed to radiation from his 5G cell phone. Our species is going to go extinct.

7:20 am Off to grocery store. Still pitch dark thanks to the government messing around with the clocks. Pass the auto parts store and the other auto parts store. Pass the Chinese restaurant and the dog wash next door to it. Pass several signs saying that gasoline is $1.96 per gallon.

Large roll of toilet paper
Extra large Scott® Tissue, 10,000,000 sheets

7:45 am Arrive at Kroger. No dead bodies in sight. It looks quiet. Too quiet. Inside, no one is wearing a face mask, but there are no red grapes and only two bags of potatoes left: the organic ones. The organic shelves are stuffed; all the non-organic vegetables are gone. There is no fish. Almost no bacon. Hardly any cereal or canned vegetables and no store-baked cookies at all. This is getting serious.

It's as if customers don't regard organic food as real food.

The essentials were there: lots of ammonia, for instance. I put two in my cart. You never know when you'll need ammonia. No one was fighting. It was eerie—almost as if the Wuhan Virus Apocalypse wasn't really happening at all. (Now that the Chinese government is accusing the US of creating the virus, I'll be calling it the Chinese Wuhan Coronavirus from Mainland China or CWCVFMC instead of COVID19 from now on.)

Organic potato
An organic potato

8:04 am At the paper products aisle, aisle 15. Chaos! Only one bag of sponges and three packages of toilet paper left. A little old lady is nervously sneaking up behind me. As soon as I'm far enough away, she reaches up and grabs one. I come back a minute later and there's only one left. Bags of dog food from the next aisle starting to overflow into the paper towel area. The sponges are still there. Why aren't people panic-buying dog food? What will those dogs eat, dare I ask, if their owners get quarantined?

8:11 am For the first time ever, there are two lanes open at the checkout. Checkout lady has turned cynical about the whole Chinese Wuhan Coronavirus story. Makes sarcastic jokes about what people might be doing with all that toilet paper. They're dipping it in Clorox, she says, and using it as a sanitizing wipe. She makes fun of my green grapes, which are starting to turn brown.

8:52 am Returned home. I survived!

9:40 am Read an email from the U.S. Postal Service assuring me that they're in communication with the CDC to ensure that customers and employees remain safe and healthy during this time. But oddly enough, there's no actual mail today.

9:41 am Learn that Mexico is blocking Americans from entering. Perhaps they will build a great big wonderful wall and pay for it themselves, just as President Trump predicted. Jeez, that guy just can't lose.

9:42 am Decided it's too cold to wash the outside of the house. Anyway, getting that truckload of toilet paper inside will take most of the day.

mar 14 2020, 10:16 am. edited mar 15 2020, 7:17 am

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