Beer and COVID
This morning I woke up with the intention of going to the super-market early to avoid the rush. All I really needed was beer, hoping I could get in and out through the express lane if it were busy. Last night, my wife and I reasoned that the deliveries would be fresh off the trucks, and the items would all be waiting like gifts. This was not the case.
Let me take you back to a month before this outbreak started. I had quit working to focus on school, leaving a fucked-off job for a bright future as I am almost finished with my bachelor’s program. By May I will be graduated and on to better prospects. But before leaving my job at a bar in downtown I noticed the tapering of people. LA relies on visitors and events and good times. As early as January I can remember slower-than-usual nights; winter is busy at the bars of DTLA because of tourists and depression. This winter has been quite slow. It seemed like a good time to quit, so I left and fully focused on my studies.
Leading up to March I felt great. I was stress free and progressing properly at school. This changed gradually, as the fear spread further than COVID ever could. It infected the consciousness of everyone through our social networks and streaming services. It made us afraid again, a comfortable place for Americans (apparently the world as well). We all needed something to cling to for safety in the face of finality.
How does a materialistic society prepare for the Apocalypse? The answer: shopping.
We have plenty of food at home. We normally have a good amount of food; a lot of it is dry food and RO water that we have stored, as we live in earthquake country. I drank my last beer two days ago, and while I’m not an alcoholic, there’s nothing better for me to do (unemployed and forced online for my studies). I figured the best thing to do would be to go to the market as early as possible to get some beer, but everyone else had the same idea.
I walked to get some exercise, and my wife left for work. It was early on a Saturday; the streets were pretty much dead. There were cars here and there, but not many. Then I got to the market. It was busy, with cars rushing in and out of the parking lot. I approached with the caution displayed by the soldiers and zombie-slayers in my favorite movies.
Sensing I needed to relax, I took a hit from my vaporizer, deeply inhaling the shatter and coughing a little. Three people walking in front of me quickly turned with a deer-in-the-headlights look. I stopped and let them get clear of me.
The market itself was pandemonium. It was the busiest I had ever seen it. Not just because of the customers and the situation but because of the deliveries and lack of employees. I noticed the security guard with a look of discomfort on his face; I’ve been there brother. My wife always wants me to go to Black Friday sales with her, but I hate shopping. It was my worst nightmare coming true. And all I wanted was some beer.
Everything was picked over already. The shelves weren’t empty, but I surmised they would be that way before long. The stockers were in a state of shock, used to having an empty store to work in. One muttered under his breath “ridiculous”. He saw that I heard, I smiled, letting him know how much I appreciate his effort. I noticed some people in groups, going over lists with each other. Were they coordinating? The end is nigh, and we shop.
I decided to walk around the entire market to take it all in. By the time I got around to far side I noticed one aisle had a lot of people in it. I wondered what was so popular, then I realized this was where the line started. I walked to the front and saw two cashiers with probably twenty to thirty shoppers in each line. There were no cashiers in the ten-items-or-less lines, which killed my strategy of just buying a couple beers and leaving quickly. I made the decision to walk to the liquor store instead, bought two 40’s and walked home in the stinging rain.
To whom it may concern,
This is my first significant post to Prose in a long time. I have missed contributing something more than a smart-ass remark here and there. The reason I have been persona non grata is mentioned in the piece above. I truly am almost done with my degree and have been writing nothing but boring history papers for such a long time now. I guess COVID allowed me to break that cycle and step back into creative writing.
Thank you all for reading and see you this Summer,