I went to the big Von’s on University Avenue to stock up today
I wore nitrile gloves, as I did the other time I went to the supermarket nine days ago. I also wore an N95 mask – my first time out in public wearing one.
I felt self-conscious about the mask, and over the past few days I was mentally rehearsing the conversation I might have with a hypothetical person who might confront me about using the mask when healthcare professionals are doing without. I imagined myself saying, “We bought the masks long before the pandemic; Julie uses them when she cleans the litterbox. We had the gloves too. We’re not hoarding; we have 10 masks and 100-200 pairs of gloves.
“We do not have a large extended family in the area,” I would have said, “so if one of us gets sick the other one takes care of them. If we both get sick, well, we’re screwed.
“By protecting ourselves, we avoid becoming additional burdens on the healthcare system,” I would have said.
“And also, you may be right,” I would have said to the hypothetical person.
Nobody non-hypothetical confronted me.
The supermarket crowd was light, but I would not have found it remarkably light on an ordinary day. Only three or four of us wore masks, and a few more wearing gloves. None of the supermarket staff seemed to be wearing masks, but the pharmacy staff did. The cashier, at least, was wearing gloves, of the type that food service workers usually wear.
One man brought his son, who looked to be about 4 years old. Seems like a bad idea. Maybe he had nobody to watch the kid?
The supermarket had most of the things I was looking for. Plenty of fresh produce, even fresh asparagus for a treat tonight. They did not have Julie’s favorite brand of salad dressing, but that might not have been virus-related as the shelves were full of salad dressing. Maybe they just didn’t carry it.
Also absent: Toilet paper and cleaning supplies. I keep hearing the supply chain is fine with those, and people are just hoarding. So when will that ol' supply chain kick in? Eventually people will run out of room in their houses for toilet paper.
I also was able to find two big bottles of my favorite hand soap, Dr. Bronner’s. That was a pleasant surprise.