Monday, May 4, 2009

So this pig walks into a bar

In a way, it felt like the opposite of a "desert island" question. You know: If you were stranded on a desert island, what (book, movie, person) would you want to have with you? Or perhaps the "if you could take one material possession with you as you left your home in a disaster situation, what would it be?"

Only the exercise was: If this is one of your last opportunities to lay in a supply of essentials ahead of a pandemic that could disrupt food supplies and/or negate access to public places such as grocery stores, what will you buy?

Apparently toilet paper and coffee are very important to me.

My trip last Friday to the giant warehouse store was made not simply because we were almost out of toilet paper, but also because we believed it prudent to stock up a little. While we are the kind of people who take things like pandemics seriously, we are also the kind of people who understand that without the capacity to afford and store a 3-month supply of everything we might need (including water, given that our well pump requires electricity to operate) then the exercise is more about temporary peace of mind. But peace of mind can be important. Feeling that you are doing something rather than nothing, and that the 'something' isn't counter-productive in the long run, can be important too. So we've got 72 rolls of toilet paper (hey -- giant warehouse store -- remember?) and enough coffee, sugar, and evaporated milk to get me through a host of mornings. I learned that the ingredients for making chocolate chip cookies felt important to me (retaining a sense of normalcy, and ignoring the electricity question since the stove is all electric), as did soup, pasta, rice, and peanut butter.

What I also found interesting at the giant warehouse store AND at the regular grocery store on Saturday was that retailers were expecting me. Hugely overstocked supplies of bottled water were very evident at both places. What I also found interesting was that I appeared to be the only shopper thinking the worst. Clearly at the giant warehouse store I was the only person with an apocalyptic agenda.

Rather than feeling relieved or foolish, we are simply hopeful that the news continues to improve on H1N1. We understand the science, as much as lay people can, of what's coming, even if H1N1 does not turn out to be 'it.'

And we go about our lives, continuing to clean house and mow the lawn and do laundry because you can't stop living. We keep going to our soccer games, too.

Dean, in the green, continues to love the game and to play it with passion. Last week (when this picture was taken) he scored a goal and had 2 assists. This week, he had his first foul called on him. As it happens, he and the other player were both going for the ball and the other player tripped over his own feet -- we and the other spectators were closer to the action than the referee (although none of us would ever question a ref's call). But the fact that Dean 'might' have fouled someone was interesting to all of us -- Dean, me and Ken, the other spectators. It has taken Dean years of playing to get a certain degree of competitive edge about him. He is as polite and non-physical a kid as you would hope to meet, and had generally applied his rules of good behavior (take turns, give people their space, don't bump or otherwise use your body to get your way) to his soccer game play.

We would always rather have a child who is kind than a child who does whatever it takes to win. We would be mortified if he ever intentionally caused a foul by pushing, shoving, kicking, tripping (as other players in his league do). But we are happy to see him learn to appropriately stand his ground. We are relieved to see him fall and then get right back up again. And we are happiest to see him feel good about a game regardless of the score at the end.

Wishing you good health, seasonally appropriate weather, and everything you need to make chocolate chip cookies in an emergency.


Natalie said...

I understand. I agree. I appreciate. I admire. I missed you.

Helen Conway said...

I totally understand the 'need to do something' concept but I am not following... how is a lot of people getting flu going to affect the electricty supply?

Jennifer said...

And in case you were wondering, too:
There are models of catastrophic pandemics that result in a complete shutdown; that power plants don't have the staffing, resources, etc., to continue functioning. That if you had a power outage for other reasons (huge spike in demands that cause blackouts, or a natural "disaster" such as tree limbs pulling down power lines) you wouldn't have the staff available to go out and do the repairs. That it's not just a matter of closing down public places like grocery stores to contain the spread, but also that so many people are ill or dying that the ability to produce, ship, and distribute food is disrupted.

Horrible to think about, but there it is.

willywagtail said...

Apparently vegemite, 2 min noodles, almonds and multivitamins as well as painkillers or fever reducers are also important. I stocked up on noodles and have a goodly supply of milk powder and muesli (very important). Cherrie

willywagtail said...

O by the way, small camp stoves are available from the big chain stores and supermarkets and I am told the aerosols for them last a goodly whild. Also outside solar lights make great sustainable lights for the evenings for readin , playing cards, etc.(also for sleeping in tents)