Cheap Seats 2020
Notes from the Bunker - 04/08
By Rich Trzupek
Greetings fellow survivors. I hope the day finds you well and your shelves overflowing with toilet paper.
Soon, perhaps very soon, life will return to normal and we will go about the monotonous tasks that we once so took for granted: Insulting each other on Twitter, demonizing those who disagree with us and admiring ourselves in the many other ways the technological mirrors of the modern age provide.
It has been literally weeks since anyone has called me sexist or racist. Sigh. I miss the good old days.
All of which is my oh-so-subtle way of saying how proud I am of everybody. We’ve stepped it up, even as we stepped away. The past few weeks have done a lot to renew my faith in humanity, and that’s not easy to do at my age.
There are exceptions of course. There are always exceptions. One of today’s featured stories involved a young woman in Texas who, upon learning she had contracted COVID-19, went to her local Walmart, or at least so she said. Her stated purpose being to infect as many people as possible on the grounds that if she was going down, she was taking as many people as possible with her.
But that kind of boorish behavior is rare. People have overwhelmingly behaved the way people almost always do when faced by a real crisis. Those of us old enough to remember 9/11 will recall how the nation came together for a few weeks after the Twin Towers fell. It was a time of mourning, but it was also a time of brotherhood across all races, classes and sexes.
And so it is today. A lot of hard-headed people, including yours truly, were finally convinced that remaining in isolation was the best way to keep this virulent virus from overwhelming our health care system. Working from home was transformed from hiding under one’s bed to doing one’s part.
Life has thus changed for a while, but humans are damned good at adapting when they have a mind to do so. Our personal space suddenly expanded to a radius of six feet, but that’s OK. Swerving far aside from fellow dog walkers has become second-nature. A friendly wave and a knowing smile inevitably accompanies the move, the unspoken message “don’t we live in crazy times” both given and received.
Most of us recognized that the crisis was harder on some than on others. Like many people who have been fortunate enough to remain gainfully employed, my bride and I have been careful to order take out from local restaurants a few times each week, knowing the pandemic has been especially tough on them.
Humor, as always, gets us through. Marching gleefully through the parking lot of a store where I scored an eight pack of TP, a woman heading in exclaimed in wonder: “They’ve got toilet paper!?”
“They’ve got a few packs left,” I responded with glee. “It’s like winning the lottery!” We both laughed. Strange days indeed.
It’s gratifying to see how companies have responded as well. There’s a few advertisements that are clearly geared for taking advantage of the crisis to put dollars in pockets, but I’d say 80 percent of commercials that acknowledge what’s going on simply say “thank you”. That’s the message, simple and sincere. As it should be.
Allow me to add to that fellow bunker-dweller. We’ll get through this and we’re all doing our part. So, to coin a phase: thank you.