As Prepared as I’m Ever Going to Be

I finally made it to the grocery store this morning. I usually don’t do the shopping because I get everything wrong. (Apparently salted butter is a good thing. I figured unsalted was better.) But, with my daughter home from college and my son home from high school, I’m making their breakfast and lunches.

While my wife knows how to cook, I don’t, so I rely far more on frozen food. When she did her end-of-the-world shopping over the weekend, she missed a lot of frozen stuff because she doesn’t cook that way. So I decided to hit the grocery store at 6:30 a.m. because I was up and figured they’d stocked the shelves overnight.

It really wasn’t that bad. They seem to be phasing out a lot of the fresh produce and the toilet paper and paper towels were still gone — although there were plenty of tissues. The place was still very picked over and they were in desperate need of a Gatorade shipment, but I feel much better about my ability to feed my children.

I’d guess in a regular week, we probably spend around $200 on food for us and the pets. In the last week, by my numbers, we’ve spent about $700, but I don’t feel like we’ve been hoarding compared to some people’s carts I’ve seen today. Seriously…do you really need 6 cases of water and 12 full-size frozen pizzas? I feel like we have enough food, medicine and supplies for 3-4 weeks of comfortable living, maybe even more. As long as we’re not buying this much every week, it’s not hoarding…it’s preparing.

I see a lot of people talking about the hype of what’s coming and denouncing how people are preparing, but we’re in strange days. Strange days, indeed. It’s like a tsunami is coming. There’s a giant wave somewhere out there, and we’ve been given time to prepare and we’re just waiting for this wall of destruction to hit us. It’s hoarding right now and it’s hype right now because we’re probably just at the beginning. I hope our actions leave those people who complain about everything to say, “We told you it wasn’t going to be bad” when it’s all said and done. That’ll be a win for all of us.

My book, which has been doing well when it comes being purchased by libraries, has obviously stalled. When every library is closing, there’s really no point in getting new books. I’m assuming that most new books, like most movies, are being put on hold, so hopefully it picks back up when this whole thing subsides, but even if those sales are over, I’m quite pleased. I can confirm over 200 libraries have it, but I know it’s far more based on sales numbers. At some point in the next week or two I’ll post a list of where they are.

Ironically, I’ve had a few clients offer me more work than usual. Since the world seems to be headed toward a standstill, they want to produce more content for their websites and blogs to keep their clients engaged. It makes sense and reminds me of the old adage that even in great times of crisis, including economic crisis, there’s always somebody making more money. Wish I’d purchased a bunch of stock in a toilet paper company about three weeks ago.

While my daughter’s college is going online, something that they were well prepared for since some of their classes have been online for years, I’m curious to see how my son’s school system handles the transition. I have a feeling that they are testing it over the next two weeks to see if they can pull it off for the rest of the year. That’s a decision I wouldn’t want to have to make.

Years ago, when I was on my City Council, I really hated making hard decisions that were going to hurt people. We’d get requests for tax abatements (people wanting us to forgive their tax situation) and while there were several councilors who had no problem saying no, I always did. Yes, these people often made more decisions with their money, and you do have to treat everyone equal, but I equally think everyone deserves a second chance. I also didn’t like how, at budget time, we had X amount of dollars to give away in public charity, but the number of charities we heard requests from far outstripped the money we had to give. How do you pick between Little League, A Social Club for the Elderly and a Book Program for Poor Kids? You’re hurting people while you’re helping others. I just didn’t have the stomach for it.

Now there are a lot of people in positions of power who have to make tough decisions like they never have before. I’m also glad I’m not running a film festival or magazine anymore. I don’t want the responsibility of making decisions that will deeply effect other people’s lives. I thought that made me powerful in the past, but I now recognize I just wanted control in my own life, not power over others. I would have made a great cult leader 10 years ago, but now I’d be a better Thoreau living on Walden Pond.

You think those Doomsday Preppers are having a giant case of “Told you so!” from their unground bunkers? To them, I say, “Good on ya.” You were right, we were wrong.

If you’re super bored and have never heard me on a podcast, it seems like a bunch that I recorded (including one from November I totally forgot about) have just been published and you can find them on my appearances and interviews page.

I’ll wrap this up. I don’t know if my babbling is a good read or it’s just more me communicating things I’m thinking and needing to know someone is reading them. Since most of us are good at this digital communication and isolating thing, make sure to stay in touch with those extroverts who are probably going through withdrawals since all the bars are going to be closed this St. Patrick’s Day and view weeks at home as a prison sentence. We’ll probably be the mentally prepared ones and the healthier ones over the next few weeks. Their world is radically changing.

5 thoughts on “As Prepared as I’m Ever Going to Be

  1. What fascinated me is that there isn’t a supply chain disruption (at least not that I’ve heard of); the empty shelves are only because of hoarding.

    And as for butter, I hadn’t realized how salty it was until I tried putting melted unsalted butter on popcorn – it tasted totally flavourless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is it really hoarding though? Those guys who bought 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer are hoarding, but what number is me hoarding? If I usually only have 1 on hand, is it 2? 5? 10? If we can’t leave our houses for 2-3 weeks, isn’t it just preparation? Same as people talking about media hype. If 100,000 people die in North America, does that mean it wasn’t hype? I think we’re dealing with an unseen situation and being over-prepared and erring on the side of caution is better than being without.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to complain to my wife that she tended to buy things simply because they were “on sale” rather than because we actually needed them (meat & frozen products in particular). But we have a freezer full and right now that gives me comfort in that I don’t have to hazard a trip to the jungle that is our local grocery store. I’ll never gripe about her habit again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully you will. That’s when you will have known things are back to normal. From a purely sociological standpoint, I just wanted to get out to the store once to see what was going down. I probably should have done it at the end of the day when all the shelves are bare and everyone looks exhausted.

      Liked by 1 person

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