It’s been just over a week since the proverbial shit hit the fan. Mia and I spent a few days little more than a week ago at Cannon Beach while the final touches (well at least we thought FINAL) of the repair from the Great Laundry Flood of 2019 were being done. Coronavirus news was just starting to really take a hold in the USA. Up until then it was something happening in China or Europe.
By Friday the news stations were reporting of “panic shopping”. We still felt a bit disconnected from it all as we relaxed, hiked and watched the sunset out at the coast. It wasn’t until we returned home on Saturday and headed for our weekly shopping at Fred Meyer that the reality (absurdity?) started to hit us. The produce section looked like they had been robbed not a potato or banana to be found.
Then we headed over to the peanut butter aisle. Talk about just plain stupid!
Do I even dare talk about the tissues, paper towels, bleach or toilet paper? I can only assume that people were sitting at home shitting themselves from paranoia. Actually my theory is just like a bank run people caught wind of a news story that other people were buying toilet paper in large quantities, and well if others were buying toilet paper in bulk then maybe I need to buy toilet paper in bulk……then Oh My God!!! I went to the store and there wasn’t much toilet paper remaining so I bought some just in case. You can see were this is going I assume? The psychology of it all fascinates me. The annoyance of actually not being able to buy TP, bananas or peanut butter kind of sucks right now.
I can only assume in some text book down the road when seventh graders are reading about the coronavirus of 2020 that there will be a paragraph about the great TP shortage of our time.
By the middle of last week things were starting to “get real” at work. We were shutting down public access to City buildings at noon on March 18th. All non-essential employees were to be sent home with pay through the weekend.
At the time I was at home for the “Final, Final” (still not quite there though) work being done on our house from the laundry flood, it was also a payroll week and then news of the city buildings shutting down all coming out at the same time. I had to go into work and couldn’t leave Codi with construction workers in the house. Mia was dealing with issues at her work (the joys of being in human resources right now) so Codi came and hung out at work with me for the afternoon.
We’ve had all sorts of temporary policies come out in the past week, some having multiple revisions. Work from Home, Covid-Sick leave, etc. In general government isn’t exactly known for being proactive but last week a group of us in the HR/Finance/IT realm spent way too much time being reactive and having to cram changes through with little or no time to fully test.
Even now I am working on a policy and procedure for coding employee time sheets so that we can hopefully report on hours if there is any F.E.M.A. assistance for municipalities in the future.
By Sunday March 22nd our shut down to the public was extended until March 30th, 2020 and today (March 23rd) Oregon’s governor issued a “Stay at Home” order. In my opinion it was needed after tens of thousands of Oregonians showed this past weekend that they don’t understand the concept of “Social Distancing”.
I’m hoping to keep writing some updates of what is going on from my viewpoint. I’d like to personally keep a record of this crazy time. We are literally living a major historical event right now. Documenting it is an important step in my mind.
4 Comments Add yours
I am also interested and slightly bemused in the weird phenomena of quickly trying to accumulate as much as possible as though that can stave off disaster. As though you can actually, individually, make everything okay by buying 5 rolls of toilet paper and 15 tubs of peanut butter. It strikes me as a particularly consumerist and capitalist way of going about things, about exactly what I would expect from mainstream America although I would hope for better.
Hope all is well for you.