We went to Costco today to buy items we typically needed. But we could not help but get swept up in the panic.
Before Costco, I went to other grocery stores to pick up toilet paper and paper towels.
On the one hand, I felt very foolish. I mean, for something so invisible, preparing by buying one more container of rice, despite the fact that for just the two of us, we had enough for weeks.
We arrived ten minutes before Costco opened, yet it was opened already. By the time we left, it was overly crowded. People waited for our parking spot when we left.
We could not find any Pine-Sol, and people had stacked multiple large scale packages of toilet paper onto their carts. There was plenty of weaving and looking, and no one was making eye contact.
I moved all the items in our cart with the barcode facing upward, so the cashier could simply use his scanning gun. We’ve always done this, but the speed was nice for others. But not only that: he did not have to touch anything.
How any of that will make a difference is beyond me.
The kind of dance we all did, one of embarrassment, was something none of us could really control. We were pulled into buying certain things, dealing with certain thoughts that we had with getting into our car, and making a game plan for who knows what. Social isolation, closing schools. The dance from Costco rippled out. Who are we except human? Who are we except people who have bodies, fleshy ones that absorb things and emit others?
Until the coronavirus passes, I will always have this moment in my memory. The pathetic dread.