What a difference a day makes.
It felt like a wave of fear was building, from the first reports of the coronavirus appearing in China to the first reports of it being found in other places. Then, more and more, we heard of its spread, until finally it appeared in the United States.
I have absolutely no faith in the current administration and, of course, their first responses to the virus were pathetic.
Donald Trump, once again, goes to his old playbook and what we have is a “hoax”. His surrogates in the right leaning “media” took that particular ball and ran with it, some even suggesting the new of the virus was a “second impeachment”.
Those living in the real world were worried, of course, perhaps overly worried and I started noticing at my local Costco that toilet paper (why?!) and water (huh?!) were being plundered by shoppers.
I can understand wanting some of these things in case of a hurricane but, correct me if I’m wrong, but water that comes out of one’s taps is still drinkable, no? It’s not like the coronavirus is going to make its way to our ground water and we’ll be somehow made sick through it, right?
As far as toilet paper is concerned… I don’t get that either. As it so happened, we actually were low on toilet paper when this whole things started up but, thankfully, I was able to get myself a pack.
This was a few day ago, thankfully, because yesterday things really, really seemed to change.
I suppose the double news of Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson contracting the coronavirus was a shock. They’re in Australia working on an Elvis Presley related film and, according to Mr. Hanks himself, they felt tired and weak and got themselves tested and found they had the virus.
A shocking thing, certainly, to read that such a well known celebrity has it.
Then came word that the NBA was suspending their season. Seems Rudy Gobert, center for the Utah Jazz, tested positive for coronavirus. Ironically enough, he made light of the disease before it was announced he had it.
Then came the Trumpster’s national address.
After nixing the seriousness of the disease, he comes out, finally, and announces it is a pandemic. He sounds… man, he sounded like he was sick himself. He talked in a monotone and made a bunch of pronouncements which others had to walk back immediately afterwards (Matt Novak at Gizmodo.com offers some of the whoppers and the corrections).
These three things, perhaps taken alone, might not have been that bad, but all three in one day?
I planned to go to Costco this morning and then thought better of it. Finally, at 9:50 am, I realized I wasn’t doing anything better so, what the hell, let me go there. I needed to get some stuff for the house (no toilet paper, paper towels, or water, though!) and figured why not.
I don’t know if anyone else out there has gone to a store today but it looks like the panic is on. My local Costco was filled with people, the ample parking lot choked up completely.
I did go in, I did manage to get some things I needed, but there was a clutter of people at the back end of the store, where the toilet paper and water is, and I genuinely feared if I stayed too much longer I’d witness a riot.
I grabbed the stuff I wanted to get -not all, alas, some were too near that end of the store and I didn’t want to fight the crowds- and headed to the exit.
Paying for products is almost always a pain at Costco and it certainly wasn’t better because of the crowds.
One gentleman in line spotted what appeared to be an abandoned shopping cart with toilet paper and water in it and headed to it, intent on grabbing the goods there. But another gentleman approached from nearby the cart and our hopeful claim jumper asked him if it was his. He said it was and that was that.
But, jeeze, can you imagine people willing to grab items in what appears to be an unclaimed cart?!
I paid and headed to my car but the fun wasn’t quite done yet.
I parked pretty far away and found the parking lot, already pretty full when I arrived, was at capacity. Drivers asked me if I parked nearby in the hopes of getting my spot.
When I did get to my car, there was already someone with his turn signal on waiting to take my spot. I put away the stuff quickly, but getting out of the space proved a chore, with cars heading out of the lot blocking my rear and not allowing me to fully pull out.
I did manage, finally, and headed first into the heart of the lot before turning and heading out (trust me, it was the best way to do this).
All the while, I worried I’d be hit by someone not paying attention.
When I finally did get out of the lot and home, I decided that was it for me going out today.
Can’t wait to see what happens in the next few days.