It's day 30 or so of the plague if you are trying to count from the beginning of COVid 19 in the USA.... much longer if you count the days since January 20, 2017 when the presnut took over. Today I got up early and drove to Target to get supplies. Harry had picked up a rumor from his nurse that Target was fully stocked so we drove over there after I picked him up from dialysis. "Tomorrow, the young woman at the door told me. We open at 8."
I have not been a hoarder and am beginning to worry that was a mistake. I remember being stunned to laughter the day I went to Costco and discovered they were out of toilet paper. I continued to scoff. Two weeks earlier I had bought an extra 30 pack because I had noticed that Harry was paying twice the Costco price. I sold him half and still have surplus. We have plenty of toilet paper and no concern about food. But I have lately had to concede the need for disinfectant wipes and such things. We ran out fast and now have none. So I'm driving to Target at 8:30 this morning, thinking of The Russians, Hedrick Smith's (1975) book about life in the Soviet Union. Scarcity was the hallmark of the Soviet economy. Common Russian citizens always had an ear to the ground for rumors of available goods, always carried a shopping bag and often would join a queue at the state stores whether or not they knew what the line had been formed for. Maybe it would be something you need.
So I had a hot rumor and was going to Target. I needed anything that resembled Handi Wipes, Clorex Wipes or, a special request from Harry, ass wipes, the allegedly flushable man cleansers. Hoped I was not too late. There is very little traffic out this morning. That is also a sign of the plague years. The mall parking lot is nearly vacant. Only two places open, Home Depot and Target. Target seems to have a crowd, but I still get a spot near the door, a good sign, grab my shopping bag. I haven't taken 20 steps inside the door when I score... a table in the first isle has about five three-can packages of Clorex Wipes... limit one to a customer. I take my one.
What else do they have that I could use? Purell? (No.) Clorene bleach? (No.) I spot a woman with a package of toilet paper on her cart. Where? I ask her. She points to be back corner of the store. I score a 20-pack of Scotts. I become a hoarder.
On the subject of hoarding, there is Harry (and Shirley). My in-laws live across the street. I have been Harry's official caretaker since he began dialysis last February. They are both 87, and neither can drive now. Medicare pays me to drive him to dialysis, do his shopping, worry about his diet, occasionally cook. I told him I could do anything but wipe his ass.
Harry is an accomplished worrier, an unusual condition for someone who spent his life betting on horses. Maybe his age, maybe his condition (the "rehabilitation center" they sent him to last year tried to kill him). He is also remarkably optimistic. Every time he gives me a shopping list, which is almost daily, he includes Purell, ass wipes and Handi Wipes, and every time I tell him that stuff isn't available he just says he needs it and sometimes claims to know someone who just bought some somewhere. So please look, which I do but I don't think he believes me.
In the meantime. Second trip out. I'm baking cake for Hickory's birthday. Figured baking would save me driving to Wegman's to buy one. No cocoa. Can't make a cake without it. I drive to the local market to buy cocoa and flour. They are out of both. Drive to Wegman's. They have a few bags of flour left. I buy one. No Cocoa. I buy a Wegman's cake. Truth is they are excellent and often preferred to my humble offerings. On a positive note Wegman's bread racks are FULL. Last week there was no bread.
Notes from the positive universe: Black Button distillery, known for its excellent Gin, has shut down its booze manufacturing and taken up making its version of Purell for local doctors and hospitals. Hickey Freeman will be making facemasks and scrubs. They are looking for at-home seamstresses, a boon to the Afghan community, as many of the women are skilled but won't or can't work out of the home. A limitation is availability of materials. Gov. Cuomo said today that they state is working with international suppliers to get it.