Photo | Kitties are ready and waiting should duty call in 2021.
It’s finally time to close, no, slam the door on 2020, and welcome in 2021. Though I think we are all keenly aware some of the previous year’s problems are going to slither under that door and follow us into the new year, we still can’t help but feel hopeful and optimistic about what is to come. I keep saying, “I mean, it can’t get much worse, right?” And then I look for all kinds of wood to knock on — oak, pine, fir, plywood, redwood, YellaWood, someone with the last name Wood — whatever I can bang my stupid fist on to try to make up for my even stupider mouth.
This year has been tough without question … and heartbreaking and exhausting in more ways than one. That is not going to stop on January 1, unfortunately. And in this time of year-end reflection, it is really far too soon for us to contemplate and fully appreciate the impact this pandemic has had and will continue to have on our lives.
There is no doubt a lot of darkness and damage there, and in time, we will need to process it all. But where there is darkness, there is also light. And even some humor to be found.
And while there is still much worry and sadness to come, there is one period in this pandemic that makes me laugh and shake my head at just how ridiculous we were (or at least I was). And that time, which falls somewhere in the last two weeks of March, was our early Pandemic-Panic-Purchasing palooza. Or as I like to refer to it, “the other PPP.” (I have actually never referred to it as that, but maybe I’ll start.)
You know you are living in a First World country when the entire nation’s first instinct and response to a global health crisis is to buy up paper … to wipe our asses with. I was stupid and didn’t do it. I was in denial that first weekend in mid-March and kept thinking this thing was certainly going to blow over.
Yeah … so … that didn’t happen.
Luckily, the Heavens had shone down upon me earlier that month, as I had bought a jumbo pack of Angel Soft, just by chance, before the insanity set in. But I couldn’t find a roll of TP for weeks after that — not even that horrible sandpaper they call one-ply!
So like most insane humans in late March, we started rationing, and I also bought some baby wipes and a couple of boxes of Kleenex … just in case. (Actually, the Kleenexes were sold out, but I was able to find some off-brand with two kitties on the packaging and I was confident those cats could get the job done.)
But I felt pretty good about that score, like a cavewoman who hadn’t been able to slaughter a bison for her pack but found a little rabbit to hold them over. Or something kind of like that.
I remember saying very seriously to my husband, “You know, if it comes down to it, I guess we can just use wet washcloths.” He nodded and replied, “Or even get in the shower… if necessary.” That’s brilliant, Frank! Why hadn’t I thought of that?
No matter what though, our family’s asses would remain clean through this crisis. And I am happy to report they have. And no, the two-kitty tissue box was never even opened because the supply chain caught back up by the time we hit the last roll of Angel Soft.
In addition to the crazy, paper-product purchasing, I found that I started shopping as if we were about to enter the Great Depression or a prolonged famine.
In fairness, at the time, I actually believed we were. Y’all remember — at the beginning of this thing, it was scary.
I started buying rice and various beans I had never heard of, so I maybe could start a soup kitchen out of the house — feed friends and neighbors, if need be. As TV ads for cars and Cheetos kept CONSTANTLY reminding us, “We are all in this together.”
I also bought an entire chicken. You know the ones in the bag, swimming in their own blood juice. I had always bought breasts or thighs because I thought said juice was gross. But these desperate times seemed to call for a whole chicken for some reason. I mean, maybe, if things got really bad I could make soap and weapons out of the discarded fat and bones. Of course, I would have to Google if that was possible to do with a discarded chicken carcass, but at least I would have it readily available if so.
I promptly put the bagged bird on the top shelf of my bottom drawer freezer, and let’s just say when they freeze, they get a teensy, weensy bit bigger. As such, said freezer drawer would no longer open and the clucker seemed to be stuck for eternity. Mother f@#*er!
So then my husband had to break the plastic drawer to get it out and was mad at me because the new fridge was just purchased in the golden pre-pandemic days of December 2019, and this would probably be the last fridge we would ever be able to purchase, because, you know the Apocalypse/Famine/Great Depression/Winter was coming. Like I knew it was going to freeze like that! That’s fine, I thought. He would forgive me the next time he was in the bathroom and needed the two-kitty non-Kleenex Kleenex.
How quickly they forget!
Another insane buying behavior I had at the beginning of the pandemic was purchasing a bunch of playing cards, board games, puzzles and crafts for the kids and me to do. Hahahahaha. As if we are those people. We are not. Not even at the beach on a rainy day.
Y’all know how it was though. The word “shutdown” just had me panicked. I had never been through one. I really thought we wouldn’t be able to leave our houses for months and months or something, like we were snowed in with 10 feet of virus, and it would somehow infect and kill our power, cable, Wi-Fi and the kids’ video games.
I pictured us sitting at the kitchen table in our “Little House,” as if we were the Ingalls family, playing Monopoly, Scrabble and UNO by candlelight, you know, just as Charles, Caroline and the kids would.
I think we made it through one game of Monopoly before everyone headed back to their iPads. That’s fine, I thought, let them iPad now, once we have to move up to the country and live off the land and eat rats — squirrels, if we are lucky — there will be plenty of time for Scattergories and Jenga between washing our clothes in a creek with chicken carcass soap.
Obviously, things settled back down pretty quickly. Once I realized the titans of industry and lords of capitalism were never going to prevent us from going to Target and Walmart, my panic purchasing quelled.
But just in case, the non-Kleenex Kleenex with the two kitties on the front is ready to report for duty, or rather, well, you know ….
Happy New Year!
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