I’ll be the first to admit that when I heard reports about ‘rona, I was one of those people who did not take it seriously. I actually thought it was a virus that was being spread in a city in California. Little did I know that this pandemic would impact so many people’s lives including my own. My job transitioned into working remotely forcing many of my colleagues around the world to rethink how to service students and each other from afar. All parties, clubs, and brunches are shut down until further notice. The stock market is on the fritz and people are losing their jobs across the country. You see on social media all the challenges and all types of boredom, yet I didn’t really understand how bad it was until the other day.
I went to our local grocery store in the middle of the afternoon to pick up a few items for my family and I immediately noticed a line of about 30-50 people. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not like waiting in lines. Anyway I can avoid waiting in line, more times than not, I’ll take advantage. Pay VIP? Yep. Skip when possible? In my former life. Just leave the event? Don’t mind if I do. But, I couldn’t this time, because we needed a few things and “happy wife, happy life”. I get my cart and say what’s up to one of the only Black men that work at this grocery store (we have that Black man bond) and I head in.
The store was barren. What paper towels? Tissue!?! All the water except for Arrow Head was gone! It was clear (even in the store), there’s a sense of anxiousness, distrust, and paranoia by customers and employees alike. The atmosphere didn’t really hit me until I left my cart near the mangos when one of the produce guys came up to me. He asked, “is this your cart, sir?” I responded and he proceeded to tell me to keep my cart close because people are stealing any and all items when they get the chance.
That’s when it hit me how serious people are taking this pandemic. We’re now at the point where folx are stealing out of each others’ carts? As I continued my grocery store trek, I started to feel a little anxious and paranoid, but I had to quickly put that in check. I remembered that I had to protect my peace and this is one of those examples of blocking some of that noise that seems so loud during the last few weeks. I may not be able to control the foolishness that comes from the media and friends, but I can control what I receive and how I respond.
Although I wasn’t able to secure any tissue or my favorite bread, that short experience reminded me that everybody is trying to figure this stuff out and I have to my (and my family’s) peace at the forefront of my mind at all times. I encourage you all to do the same even after this pandemic passes.