Toilet paper … Never in my life did I think that 95% of my thoughts would be consumed with commentary on toilet paper. But here I am, focused on toilet paper like it’s the center of the universe.
I should make a disclaimer before you continue reading. After a childhood wrought with hard times, I am quick to laugh when I am uncomfortable and the situation is entirely inappropriate for laughter. This brings us to the story I am about to share with you.
Like most mountain dwellers, a trip to the market is not a thoughtless outing. There is an extensive list that we make and time slot we carve out for our trip “off the Hill.” We hit all the stores and we do all the things we need to do and we come home praying that we didn’t forget that one thing we just knew we were going to forget.
It’s an event.
So, like every other Friday, I attempted to run to the store.
Man was that a mistake.
I pulled into the parking lot and was immediately aware that I had to search for a parking spot. There wasn’t the abundance that I had grown accustomed to as a stay-at-home mom who normally shops midday. There were about two parking spaces left.
“That’s fine,” I thought, “exercise helps immunity.”
After my long journey to the entrance doors, I turn to reach for a basket that is always readily available. Except this time, there are none.
About 10 people had gathered around looking like lost sheep.
“People are so lazy,” I think smugly. “Surely, if I just go to a stall in the parking lot, I can find a shopping cart.” Zero. There are zero carts available.
The panic begins to set in. How do I shop without a cart?
Do I just fill these reusable bags and pack-mule it out?
Is there a protocol for this I’m not aware of?
I’m in over my head and I don’t want to adult anymore.
I decided that this was going to have to be the trip that I exposed my secret shop every other Friday agenda to my husband. Mama just needs her wine and there is a market that offers a pretty great deal if you buy half a dozen bottles at once.
I confidently walked in past the throngs of people buying essentials — water, canned goods, and of course, the Holy-Pandemic-Panic-Grail-1-Ply-Back-of-the-Shelf toilet paper — to the wine aisle.
There was another woman in the wine aisle and for a moment we locked eyes. Her face read judgement. I’m sure mine read “look away.” We didn’t speak.
Guys, six bottles of wine are heavy. I had to stand in line for 15 minutes carrying about 20 pounds of wine and the stress of it all started to wear on me. And so, to top off the day, I started to laugh — just me and my wine bags, laughing like a lunatic at the chaos of it all.
Needless to say, my fellow patrons left me a wide circumference of space for the remainder of the outing. I paid. I got out. I got to my car and laughed some more.
Is this all scary? Yes, my heart hurts for every life lost. But is this the end? I don’t think so.
I want to believe this is the beginning. The beginning of remembering that we are in this together. We are not alone. We are part of a picture so big it circles the globe. So, send that message to a friend or neighbor. Ask them how they’re holding up. Send them a commiserating picture of a hefty glass of wine and laugh at how just yesterday you took your roll of Charmin for granted.
This too shall pass my friends. Don’t let your consideration of your fellow man pass with it.