I’ve been preparing for self-isolation my entire life. I am introverted and I relish those days in which I can putter around in my underwear all day long, brushing only my teeth, adorning no makeup while eating peanut butter and honey from the jar. So when talk came of shutting down the world to contain the corona virus I said, “There is a God and he loves me the most”.
As a girl who was raised Jehovah’s Witness and from Oklahoma, I grew up with this kind of buy-all-the-toilet- paper hysteria we are seeing play out. My whole childhood was spent listening to spiral-eyed men preaching eminent death and world annihilation (and that was from the Oklahoma weathermen). Oklahomans hear about a possible tornado coming on Friday and by Sunday people have bought all the toilet paper, flashlights and generators in a 100-mile area. Trailers are loaded with bottled water. So I am familiar with the hyperbole that the corona virus is causing.
But yesterday The Husband and I had to make a Lowe’s Home Improvement Store run. We jokingly looked down the toilet paper aisle and it looked like a ghost town. I think I heard a shingle squeak and a rooster crow. This was unnerving.
Next we went to Home Depot. Again we laughed and scurried around the store in a veritable scavenger hunt seeing if we could find a coo-coo for coco puffs hoarding toilet paper. What we found instead was vast empty spaces where toilet paper once lived in perfect harmony with paper towels and shop towels (which were also oddly disheveled and scarce). Weirder still, and I promise I’m not making this up, checkout Lane 3 was open. This shook me to my core.
Next stop, grocery store. Just to be on the safe side, I think, maybe we should buy some toilet paper, but no. There is not a stitch of toilet paper here.
They say we are all born with a fight or flight response. As an aforementioned Oklahoman raised by a Jehovah’s Witness and who is currently reading a book about the Donner party, folks, we have here what is known as a Perfect Storm. My fight response kicked in as my mind flashed to my dog. I don’t want to eat my dog but I will eat that damn dog if it comes down to it. I began hurriedly chasing down frozen foods and canned foods, dumping them in the shopping cart. And yes, I bought bottled water. I also bought several cases of La Croix because I am not a savage survivalist.
I have been trying to decide whether to fly home to Oklahoma to visit my 92 year old mom. Should I risk seeing her once I’ve been around people who might be carrying the virus? Then I remember my mom has one of those Life Straws and I’m betting she has toilet paper. I know she has buckets of hand-sanitizer.
I’m getting on that plane.
I know that there are people dying from this and others who would die if they contracted the virus. I don’t mean to be unkind. It’s just an offer of levity in this time of chaos and fear. Stay safe everyone and for God’s sake wash your hands.