PNW Coronavirus Chronicle #2: Hey, look! I have a can of clam chowder!

It’s pantry rummaging time. Not because I’m too scared to go out in public. I’m rummaging around my pantry because there is something that happens when a person is stricken with the onset of cabin fever. The hunting and foraging instinct kicked in yesterday at lunch along with a profound urge to nest within the safe confines of my home.

A moment of curious calm

I stood staring out a window, chatting with my manager on the phone as we tried to map out how this, however temporary, situation will have to work, when I spotted two small birds in a tree. What struck me was that the afternoon was pretty stormy with the wind pitching and swaying branches, but there they perched, unperturbed. They were every bit the picture of a comfortable couple gazing at the view from their back deck. All that was missing were a couple of tiny Adirondacks and itty-bitty glasses of wine.

I found the sight of those two birds very calming. These two sat on that branch, unmoving, staring off into the distance, for almost 10 minutes. The aggressive movement of the branches in the storm didn’t bother either of them. Not a single flutter. It is a scene that recalls a favorite quote:

It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. 
It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

The clam chowder I found in the back of my cupboard was fine for today’s lunch, but truthfully, I needed more provisions. So I ventured out for groceries. Just using the term, “ventured out,” in relationship to a routine trip to the grocery store is odd. I’ve been out and about every day this week, but only for short trips that did not involve being in the proximity of more than a couple of people at a time. A trip to the grocery seemed daunting.

I headed out with a full ration of patience, along with homemade hand sanitizer and latex gloves. Not surprisingly, I had to circle the parking lot several times before landing a spot. The cluster-f**k that ensued when 5 cars vied for 2 open spots would usually result in a lot of parking-lot road rage. Not so today. As a community, we are well aware we are in crisis-mode, so it seemed that I was not alone in bringing patience with me to the store. Every driver assessed their part in the do-si-do and maneuvered accordingly and expediently. It was the most neighborly thing I have ever witnessed.

The store was busy, but “normal” busy. The only difference were the empty shelves. It’s funny what people think is necessary to hord: Flour, eggs, butter, but not so much baking soda, yeast or salt. Frozen meals, of course, but only certain frozen meals. There’d been a run on plastic food storage bags, which seemed odd. And, I just have to say, all that broccoli is going to go bad in just a few days, so folks better eat up.

But Collard Greens? I had my pick! Mushrooms, too. Asparagus. Artichoke. Lettuce. Carrots. Radish. All that was left of the white onions were a few paper skins, but yellow and red onion and shallot were plenty to be had. Berries were picked over (pun intended), but plenty of apples and oranges. Fish, beef, nuts, tomatoes, juice, cheese, baked desserts too. What fascinated me was coffee. There was a lot of coffee. You’d think there’d be a run on coffee.

As I considered buying the half turkey breast from the rotisserie service (as all their chicken was sold out, like, all chicken. They were completely out of fresh chicken too), I heard a shopper curse under his breath that salami slices were sold out. The neighborly demonstration in the parking lot inspired me to pay it forward. I suggested he get a 1/4 lb. at the deli counter. Poor guy had to take a moment to process. He’d never considered the deli counter before. He smiled and thanked me. As I moved along to the check out, I heard him ask, “How much is a pound?” A pound?! Wow. He’s taking the lock down very seriously.

One thought on “PNW Coronavirus Chronicle #2: Hey, look! I have a can of clam chowder!

  1. My normal shopping had been on a two week rotation. I went last Friday at 10am. Store was crowded but then I found out that one of the schools had a teacher in-service day so parents had their children along. Shelves were good for the most part, clerks were restocking in every isle. The kicker was the toilet paper isle… not single roll to be found. Several stores seemed to be out as well including on line sources. Really how much do you need of that product to stock up on?

    Just stay safe and sane. And thanks for your entry. I’m in a similar boat age wise, I think. But I’ve been semi-retired for a few years so being at home alone and writing are pleasures I enjoy.

    May we continue to be polite to each other and help those in need. And think positive for recovery of health and the economy.

    Liked by 2 people


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