So how is everyone? Feeling just a little bit sorry for the over-paid, over-priviledged athletes out of a job? Nope. Me neither. But I am worried for the hairdresser and the gym owner and all the small business’ that might not get back up off their knees.
I’ve had a sniffle on and off this week – which I’m pretty sure is more allergen than viral but I’ve cancelled a few things then convinced I was cured, I went out on Wednesday and did a big shop. It made me realize how inured I am to death and dying when the girl at the coffee counter asked if I wanted marshmellows with my moccachino. ‘Hell yes! I might be dead next week,’ I joked. The look on her face was priceless but I did get an extra marshmellow. This morning I made a trip to the library to stock up on pre-coughed on books. The only other customers in there were two sad, elderly men hunched over their demon computers begging for help. I also needed some sour cream for the nacho’s tonight and went to the supermarket. At the library I’d found a park almost at the front door. At the supermarket there were no car parks and no trollies. Once I’d captured both of these, I walked in to be greeted with a wall of tissues, toilet paper and cleaning products – and thankfully a friend from the gym who also thought the world had gone crazy. But it’s catching. I chucked a tube of toothpaste into the trolley because who in their right mind wants their very sensitive teeth to play up in a pandemic and … Ok. I confess. It was an $80 pottle of sour cream.
All this panic in a country where only 30-some people have the virus. We’ll all have run out of supplies by the time it’s crept out into the community – which it most certainly will.
I’m also finding the line between news and sensationalism impossible to find. A month ago I cancelled the newspaper apart from weekend editions and I can’t say I’m missing it. I glanced at the headlines in the supermarket – BOARDERS CLOSED it screamed. No wonder people are shopping their way to Armageddon. RNZ and it’s constant, serious updating and analysis of the financial ruin ahead, are equally as bad. It too gets turned off on a regular basis. There actually is a positive side to this madness. All those aeroplanes which are no longer circling the globe, are going to give the ozone layer a much needed boost. Local farmers are hopefully going to re-engage with a market they’ve been doing their best to ignore, and lots of people are going to have holidays at the right time to sort out the garden and the house for the winter. I have a novel to complete and once the library books are read, a copy of The Luminaries gathering dust on the shelf.
We are experiencing history. I can already hear the Ghost of Earthquakes Past shouting in my ear – ‘You’ve done that already”, but this time, it’s everyone in the world living the same history at the same time. I have FB messenger and other distance-shrinking tools which help me hold hearts with my kids who are sending me photo’s of empty supermarket shelves on Bribie Island and the deserted 5pm BTS in Bangkok. I trust in their healthy immune systems and their ability to weather the storm. But I am their mum. If they run out of de-sensitising toothpaste, they know they only have to ask.