I don’t write this post lightly. I am currently on three weeks paid leave from work because of a virus that even I thought was kind of a joke until real information started coming out of China. I watched the news and saw store shelves empty. Small numbers came out and again I thought this was nothing to be concerned about. It wasn’t until the reality of the situation started to come to the forefront that I too became concerned. I went to the store two weeks ago with a few hundred dollars as a “just in case” trip and have not regretted it. Since then my wife came to realize this is more than just some conspiracy theory news story.
The coronavirus, covid-19, whichever name you are tired of hearing on the news is real and its here. It hasn’t popped up in my county yet but my state is infected. Everything but west Virginia is infected. On St. Patrick’s Day the police were out trying to enforce a ban on crowded gatherings, the beginning of a police state. I have been out to stores and watched paranoid crowds avoid one another in silent desperation as they scanned empty shelves for items that have been gone for hours. Down town was a barren wasteland on a Friday afternoon. It occurred to me that I might not be returning to work in three weeks. This could go on for a very, very, long time.
This is the experiment, what this blog was all about, trying to learn how to live at the end of the world. Maybe it’s not that bad, but if it is, this isn’t far from it. Everything we take for granted is shutting down. The stores I go to have posted they are closed indefinitely. Governments are closed. Court houses are shut down with cases postponed indefinitely. Bars and restaurants have shut their doors by state mandate. People over the age of 65 are asked to not leave their homes.
My pantry is full. I have enough food for myself and my family for a few months. Earlier today I overheard the neighbors laughing about the news and joking about leaving town because being in the city isn’t where they want to be when “the shit goes down.” There is talk about interstate travel restrictions. I went into the basement and took out my SHTF home defense systems and cleaned them.
I still have friends who say they are not concerned about the virus but people’s reactions to it not taking into consideration the government’s reaction to it. At this point the Feds response has been “piss poor” at best and the states have stepped up where those above them have been lacking.
There is a food shortage coming and we have not seen the beginning of this pandemic yet. While there are bodies being buried food won’t be grown. Shelves will be poorly stocked and those who are paying attention will have to take it upon themselves to grow what they need and maybe a few stray felines will disappear as well.
This might not be a collapse; it could be a hiccup in the system. Either way it is turning out to be a 9-11 that keeps going day after day. I remember that day and the weeks that followed never really processing what had happened until months later. Processing is over, panic is setting in, and I find myself questioning if I could have done more, if there is still something I could do to make the coming months easier for myself and my family? At this time, we appear to be fine but there are family members who are less fortunate and at higher risk that others are not taking into consideration and that is what bothers me most.
Tomorrow I go on the road, taking food to my wife’s grandmother who is 85 years old. Everyone living in the house is at risk due to age or health factors. I don’t know what I am going to come across trying to drop off food at her door. Everything these days feels like something straight out of one of my post-apocalyptic novels. Friends aren’t listening. The general public is in a panic. Government is failing at every turn. Here I am trying to do the right thing. I should keep my butt at home. People should be responsible enough to take care of themselves. There are those of us that don’t have the capability to do that for themselves. Should they be forgotten? At some point I will have to close my door, wave goodbye to the world and leave people to their own devices. I don’t think that time has come. Like my friends have said, its not so much the virus that concerns me at the moment its how other people are reacting because of it.