It’s the uncertainty that gets me. I’ve seen “the foreseeable future” and “until at least” so much I’ve started mentally adding them to everything I read.
“Thank you for your order of three hundred twenty seven rolls of toilet paper. Your expected delivery date is until at least May 20. We hope you enjoy your toilet paper for the foreseeable future.”
Not that we’re actually hoarding toilet paper. We’ve got enough for a couple of weeks, and if we can’t get more when that runs out, we’ll cope. Paper towels. Newspaper. Too bad Sears doesn’t publish a mail order catalog anymore–though I suppose if they did, it would be on glossy paper, rendering useless for the traditional repurposing.
I sort of understand why people feel compelled to horde toilet paper in a crisis. It has so many uses beyond the obvious. And it’s not like it spoils. You can get away with buying a six month supply–or a six year supply, for that matter.
But other aisles in the supermarket are just as empty, and some of those make no sense to me at all? Why are people hoarding bread? How much bread do you need for two weeks of isolation? And how are you going to keep it from spoiling? I mean, sure, you can freeze it, but if your freezer is full of bread, where are you going to put the other perishables?
(For the record, we generally go through three loaves of bread in two weeks’ dinners. And another not-quite-one-loaf of sandwich bread for those peanut butter and something-or-other lunches. Which seems like a lot, now that I’ve written it down, but even if everyone else shopping at our local supermarket goes through that much, it shouldn’t amount to enough to totally empty the shelves.)
Perhaps you’ve heard that most of the Bay Area is under a “Shelter in Place” order. Everyone is supposed to stay home as much as possible. Don’t go out unless you’re going to one of the essential businesses.
Reasonable, but “essential” is a rather ambiguous term. Apparently that category includes restaurants, but only for take-out. I’ve been told by fairly reliable sources that it includes businesses that help make it possible for people to work from home. But if that’s true, why will Apple not be able to reopen its stores in the affected counties until the order is lifted*?
* Which will not be until at least April 7. See? As I said, it keeps sneaking in!
Hardware stores are apparently essential. I guess that makes sense. As long as you’re stuck at home, you might as well do some of those little jobs around the house you’ve been putting off. Replace that faucet, those cracked electrical outlet plates, and the leaky toilet in the mother-in-law unit*. In a rare sign of good planning by a government, plumbers, electricians, and other such professionals are still able to come to our homes to repair the repairs we botch. Assuming we’re willing to let them in, of course.
* Haven’t you heard? Every home in the Bay Area has a MiL unit now. Not for our mothers-in-law; we rent ’em out. That’s how we solved the housing crisis.
Come to think of it, we’re being told to remain at least six feet away from other people if we have to go out. How’s that going to work at the grocery store or the doctor’s office?
Medical professionals are, of course, remaining open, but the public is being asked to cancel any non-urgent or non-essential appointments. More ambiguity. As it happens, I had an appointment yesterday to have blood drawn for some lab work. So I called the lab to ask if I should come in.
“It’s entirely up to you,” I was told. “We’re open, but you have to decide if it can wait.”
Hardly a decision I really want to make in the absence of professional advice, but in the spirit of coping, I did go and have a hole poked in my arm.
However, I decided to wait on the test results before deciding if I should cancel my appointment next week to discuss the results. If everything is normal, why risk the exposure of a face to face visit?
It may not be at the “London during the Blitz” level of making do, but it seems appropriate to this era.