Saturday, March 21st, 2020
The sky is pale blue behind a veil of grey clouds. No wind at the moment.
Yesterday, I left the house to buy groceries and to refill my prescription. I was uneasy.
I have felt uneasy about buying groceries before. Blackbirds, catcalls, lack of funds, interacting with humans – I’ve faced all these pitfalls and more, but I’ve never felt like I was stepping into an apocalypse movie.
And as it turns out, I wasn’t. As usual, the bleak picture I’d painted in my head was far worse than the actual reality. Here’s a few examples.
My imagination: A lone figure walks down an empty street at midnight. Even the moon is shadowed, only a few pale stars to light the way. Wind whips empty bags and newspapers along the sidewalk. Somewhere a small creature screams in pain. The lone figure has only one thought in mind. “Groceries,” they say quietly.
Reality: The streets were a little quieter than usual.
My imagination: At last, the store. Our hero scans the area carefully. They’ve learned to keep their guard up even when all seems well. The coast appears clear, though, so they push through the now defunct sliding doors and enter what was once a Target. A single bulb still flickers connected to some long-ago power source, spreading a damp radiance across the empty aisles.
Reality: Not only was the Target open, but people were shopping, and I found all the items on my list.
My imagination: Satisfied that they have collected every useful or edible item from this graveyard to a now extinct capitalism, our hero returns to the door. Laden with their salvage, they will prove an easy target to any marauders. They will need to move quickly if they are to return home unscathed. It is a long and dangerous road, but they must survive. They must endure. “For Scout,” they whisper, and exit the store.
Reality: I walked home. I pet Scout. I washed my hands seven or eight times. The end.
I’m not saying that the world isn’t undergoing a massive upheaval right now. Of course it is. Foundations are shaken. People are suffering and dying. I am not trying to negate that. I have simply found that my self-created hysteria does not line up with my actual day-to-day existence.
I am fortunate. I am grateful. I am doing fine.
I may feel stressed and scared, but I never want to lose my sense of perspective.
Much love from Oakland.