When Trump was elected in 2016, I created a Trump-ocalypse box for my family. I was convinced we would have to flee to Canada when he brought about what I was certain would be the end of days.
I packed up medicines, first aid supplies, batteries, a flashlight, toothbrushes, tampons, family documents, and cash. When we moved to California, I maintained our kit as a fire evacuation kit and added gallons of water, wipes and diapers and spare clothing for each person.
Well, how do you like me now? My tendency to catastrophize any situation has become a positive character trait. Take that, former therapists! Because covid-19 is here and the world has lost its collective mind.
Today, I cracked into that kit and I was elated to find a bottle of hydrogen peroxide (sold out every where), hand sanitizer and a spare bottle of a much needed prescription that I haven’t been able to refill due to panic at our local pharmacy.
As a parent, I am focusing on minimizing panic for the sake of my young children. But my husband and I can speak of nothing else other than locating food and supplies as we self isolate. (This does include bottles of wine.) We whisper about the shipping updates on the two gallons of hand sanitizer we ordered from Staples last week and debate whether or not to buy a gigantic freezer to fill with bread and chicken nuggets.
My Facebook feed is choked with pictures of empty shelves and shopping carts filled with paper supplies and hand soap. Freaked out friends are triumphant over snagging rolls of toilet paper and where I formerly saw images of their artful restaurant meals, I see snaking lines at the grocery store.
Today, I am weirdly proud of my life long catastrophe preparedness, but I am not going out there to add to my horde. “We will be OK!” I type this to reassure myself because I AM afraid. I am worried for my mom and in laws who are above that threshold for contagion. And I am checking my sleeping children twice at night, relieved that they are healthy and safe in my nest.
I hope that I have over prepared and that the World will continue as I have known it for 44 years. But I am prepared for a very difficult time ahead.
My generation has blessedly never known true deprivation. We’ve never lived through a war on our home soil or a crushing recession. We’ve experienced general affluence and comfort.
This pandemic will certainly bring death to someone close me. And many of us are facing stark changes in our lifestyle due to loss of employment. Stores will shutter their doors and the freedom Americans have take for granted may be hindered by limited supplies and travel restrictions.
I worry for the future my children will know. Climate change, unemployment, economic collapse – these stark facts are at our doorstep. For the present, I will try to be mindful of today and the fleeting nature of the comforts we can still enjoy.
Hug your partner and babies and break out the board games. We’re hunkering down for a big fight. I’m wishing everyone peace and, of course, good health. And a new president in November.