Aldi was surreal. …Maybe I was paranoid but people seemed edgy when I let a sneeze go in the vegetable aisle.

Aldi was surreal. Fresh food was gone but having planned my nutritional requirements for end times in many bored moments throughout my life I had the solutions.  Did you know a jar of Nutella has more than the recommended daily intake of calories in it? Just  in case you have to make a run for it. I could probably hold out a month at this stage, longer if I rationed. Although I couldn’t have enough cheese which stays in date for longer than I expected. I must buy a few more blocks to supplement my more than adequate Worcester sauce stock.

Maybe I was paranoid but people seemed edgy when I let a sneeze go in the vegetable aisle. Normally I’d be the type who gets a kick out of farting in an elevator but humour was in shorter supply than bread yeast. I guess I wasn’t the only one with an urge to learn to bake. I had a bit of craic with a girl working in the meat aisle – they deserve a bit of laughter. “You know zombie apocalypses always start in supermarkets.”

“As long as it starts in the drink section.” she replied. A work colleague I met in the drinks section had already planned for that eventuality “Swipe, swallow, smash, stab” he  gestured with shaolin precision.

I’d be nabbing the Stilton cheese but we all have our priorities.

I think stocking up on canned goods as our grandparents did is always a good idea at the best of times. Food supply lines are irrationally long – potatoes from South Africa never made much sense. A couple of months worth in the press would insulate us from the shock of a cataclysm, buying us time to get the first local harvests underway.

I wonder is this virus Mother Nature flexing her own immune system in an effort to get us to cop the f*** on? If it is not some kind of military experiment gone wrong, or right, as some speculate then it is simply a natural process. With the last exotic ecosystems squeezed by our increasingly insatiable and rapidly growing populations more nasty surprises, hitherto hidden in their depths could be unleashed onto our hubris.

It turns out these musings might qualify me an eco-fascist. Aw well, sincere hostility trumps insincere virtue signaling despite what my counselor says on the subject. You know where the block button is and I know I deserve to die because I’ve been willfully and knowingly complicit in filling the air with carbon to satisfy my lustful pleasures. We damage and undo all of nature’s intricate systems with their inbuilt failsafes for unnecessary comfort. How then can we be shocked when the natural world bites back? This, I suspect, is the start of things to come. Already there are signs of a healing Earth as we shut down and stay put. If we don’t use this opportunity to follow through a 1 in 30 virus might be the least of our worries when our children come of age.

In contrast my increasing hope for the species is a pleasant surprise. I have to give another shout out to the shop staff. Sometimes in history people are called and they have responded, my heart swells with love for them right now. If they can we can. I felt the same love for my fellows who looked anxious or scared like the passing acquaintance holding her months old baby. How must it be for nursing mothers right now with their instincts raw primed to protect at all costs? Despite the extraordinary situation the atmosphere was reserved and respectful, nothing like the Christmas terror-dome a few weeks previously.

Around the town, novel ways of doing business are beginning to appear. A tent was erected outside the hardware store where signs advised people to put in their order via phone. There is a boom in delivery services, voluntarily or otherwise. These community support systems seem to be growing as exponentially as the virus is spreading.. Let’s hope the healthcare system is responding likewise. From the increasingly detailed risk assessments and protocols we are getting from work I have no reason to suspect they are not. Everyday buys them time to get more beds and equipment into the front, more staff trained and more knowledge in how to deal with the surge we are told is inevitable. Soon they will be up. It’s time to bring our A-game.