Qualitine Not Quarintine

 

As a writer, journalist and more importantly, a human being, I felt it pertinent to put some words down about the current climate from my corner of the world. There is no doubt about the contagion spreading like wildfire across the the country. Over night, a conflagration of hysteria has burned from one city to the next amidst nationwide shutdown of schools and businesses. Large markets and small grocery chains have seen a devastating blow to their shelves and back-stock. Fears of food shortage seems to be on the brain with the shutdown of ports and the conservation of large food-chain warehouses. The increasing rate of the stock market dropping hasn’t helped. And neither does the panic pull of money from your savings accounts.

After the aggressive supermarket dash on Friday the 13th, I was curious to see how much damage had actually been done. I went from large chains such as Target to 99 Cent stores, to small liquor stores and small markets. Needless to say, the scenes were discouraging. Aisles and shelves were wastelands. Shoppers late to the party seemed like ghosts looking for whatever crumbs of non-perishables and long-term essentials they could find for what seems like a long road ahead.

“We have deliveries but we’re not sure what’s coming,” A clerk at El Rancho Market in Lake Elsinore told me. “All the major chains are first to get their orders, and the rest of us have to wait and see.”

Large chains like Albertsons are still expecting their loads, but they, too, are unsure of what will come since the warehouses are conserving what stock they have left in regards to toilet paper and cleaning products or anything else that might be produced overseas. One checker at my local Stater Bros said their delivery never showed Sunday.

“I’ve sold more toilet paper than I ever have,” said the owner of a local liquor store. “I still have some if you need some. I’m selling twelve packs for ten dollars.”

Big Lots. Ralphs. Cardenas. Costco. Sam’s Club. Any and all places providing long-term sustenance has been wiped clean. This seems to be the consensus across the board and across the nation. Of course, this is only an immediate reaction to a situation we have not dealt with before. And is a clear picture of the unpreparedness of many Americans in times of crisis. It does not mean this will last forever.

I’m not an expert on the situation, nor do I claim to have credentials assuming I do. However, as a constituent of this society and of a local community, it is important to educate ourselves on the situation at hand. Tend to your families. Your work. Your neighbors. Be aware. Let’s be smart about this. Not chaotic. There are necessary steps we can take as a people to keep from spreading the hysteria and virus alike. There are ways we can work together as a community to strengthen our understanding. I’d recommend listening to Joe Rogan’s recent podcast with Michael Osterholm, an expert in infectious disease epidemiology and also the Director of Center for Infectious Disease Research. Also, Sam Harris’ Waking Up Podcast with Nicholas Christakis, a professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University and Director of Human Nature Lab.

Take this time, if you are landlocked at home, to do as those youthful storytellers did in Boaccaccio’s The Decameron, during the time of the plague: Tell stories. Read a book. Listen to music. Paint. Create. Get to work on that project you’ve been putting off. Eat healthy. Exercise. Help those who struggle with health issues, who are at risk due to old age. Get necessary rations. Keep your distance, but stay in contact. Communicate. It is important that we do not compartmentalize and turn on one another in this time of apprehension. Spare a square of toilet paper, for Christ’s sake. 

So whether you’re freaking out; whether you’re a skeptic; whether you’re left or right wing; whether you believe this to be part of an esoteric agenda to decrease population and to control the masses; whether you believe this to be a covert operation to bolster the left or right agenda for the upcoming elections, or a chance for the government to finally microchip and monitor the movements of every American; whether this was intended to push Marshal Law into effect and corral us with military might; whether the New World Order is behind this, or not; whether you think this was bio-engineered to cripple our economy; we have to remember that we are all in this together, rich and poor, young and old, intellectual and schizophrenic; all of us, one day at a time.

And don’t forget that germs are important, but wash your hands after you hit the head.

As for me, I’m going skateboarding. Alone.