Coronavirus Diary Day 8: March 20, 2020

Grocery Shopping Finally Gets the Clout it Deserves

I’ve been trying to explain to men people for years just how stressful it is to grocery shop. There’s the Pregame Phase: Meal planning, inventory, and lists. The Execution Phase: Leave room for others, stay to the right, don’t open the freezer door until you know what you’re grabbing, make fast decisions, stay off your goddamned phone until you’re back in your car. The Postmortem: Unpack, refrigerate, rearrange cabinets, put bags away, and conjure every ounce of will-power not to eat Ryan’s Tastykake KoffeeKake Cupcakes.

Finally, grocery shopping is getting the media attention it deserves!

I went to Wegmans today. Wait, I should mention that I went to Wegmans on Monday morning, also. That wasn’t a painful experience. While it was moderately crowded, I wasn’t there long. (I’m a professional grocery shopper; see paragraph 1 above). They were out of meat though. I mean, I grabbed a package of bacon, but there was definitely not any beef, chicken, or pork, unless I opted for organic, top grade filet mignons at like $1,000/pound. (I’m exaggerating.) So, I picked up some fresh vegetables and a few other needed items, and then I hightailed it out of there.

But today. Fuck.

I rolled up to Wegmans at 2:15 this afternoon, and you’d think it was the day before an epic snowstorm. People, I get it. We’re in for the long haul, and after today’s grocery shopping experience, I have no intentions of going back to Wegmans for any reason whatsoever. I am done. I hope you are done, too.

There was literally Coronavirus on every imaginable surface. Shopping carts, food packaging, credit card machines, grocery bags, floor tiles, florescent lighting, absolutely everywhere. I saw it with my own two eyes.

After I returned home, I subjected myself to 10 phases of disinfection. No, seriously. From the time I got out of my car, I had physical contact with so many things: car door handles, grocery bags, house door handles, dog gate latches, grocery bags again, packaging, refrigerator handles, cabinet handles, grocery bags again. And for fuck’s sake, my coat! At Wegmans, I wore sanitary gloves and practiced the very best social distancing etiquette, but while I was waiting in the cashier’s line, my legs got a little tired. (It was a long line, and I took Kit Rich’s live Pilates class today.) To relieve the pressure on my knees, I leaned into the cart handle just a tiny bit. It was mere seconds later when I jumped back, realizing my coat had now been fully infected with Coronavirus! (It’s in the washing machine, hot water, two pods.)

Anyway, I was so stressed for like 2 hours after that. I took the dog for a long walk, drank a bottle glass of rosé in the sun. I was certain these were calming tactics. But, no. Here’s what I learned at the grocery store today: Stress is contagious. Everyone is so worried. Writing about it now, reflecting on the experience, I am sad for us. And I don’t mean that in any kind of sarcastic, obnoxious, I-think-I'm-so-funny way. I really mean that.

I am sad for us.

But, I’m very happy I have an 18-year-old son, who is culturally aware and ethically conscious, who doesn’t yell at me when I tell him what to do, and who knows the world is a gigantic place full of all kinds of people. We are all feeling the same stress and the same sadness.

Also, he has a driver’s license and he’s young. So tonight, I required Ryan to pick up our Friday night Take-Out dinner, because it’s unlikely he’ll catch the COVID-19 and he can accomplish the 10 phases of disinfection much faster than I can (and he didn't drink a bottle glass of rosé). I did not cook for the first time in over a week, and we had a lovely family dinner.

I won't be returning to the grocery store for a very, very long time. If you think this means I have a decent supply of food and sundries, yeah, I might. If things get really bad and you consider coming for it, I have a warning for you.

I've decided not to share the Coronavirus numbers tonight. I'm confident we can all be on board with that. Happy Friday, friends!


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