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Gimme Shelter: Quarantine Tale #1


So… We’re about a month into the serious phase of this, with no end in sight. April 7th has come and gone, and we’re still under guidelines to isolate, quarantine, etc. Spring has arrived, despite our collective gloom, with birds returning and plants a’poppin’ all over the place.

A bit about me: I’m a townie. I came to attend UGA, decided I liked the area, and never left.  That was almost 20 years ago. Most of the current class of students wasn’t even born when I was a know-it-all freshman, back in 2000. Since then, I’ve watched Athens grow up (literally). Witnessing the shenanigans of current students, I fondly remember my own crazy days. Last year I adopted two feral kittens, who are now spoiled rotten indoor kitties. My apartment complex recently changed managers, and my rent went up. Life is a cycle of bills, meals, lack of sleep, and, when I get the chance, art and leisure. Oh, hey, let’s throw in a global pandemic, just to shake things up a little.

I’m viewing all the cries of “Staying at home sucks!” with a certain chagrin. My job is considered essential, and I can’t perform my duties online. I’m one of the ones on the road, going to work, delivering your orders, taking things to your car. I don’t have a Sam’s Club or Costco membership, and, while I have enough canned goods and TP to last a while, it bothers me that I can’t go to a store and pick up essentials as I normally would. First world problems, yep. People, please quit panic buying. Our supply lines are currently stretched thin, but trucks are still running, and retailers are happy to sell you stuff, if they’re allowed. Things aren’t to a Walking Dead level of despair… yet.

On my rounds, I respect customers’ desires to stay distant or isolate totally. Traffic is certainly a lot better. This situation isn’t a shutdown: It’s a slow down. Pizzas are still being made, which is of vital national and personal interest. The only thing that bugs me are people who don’t respect the six foot rule. We’re constantly cleaning often-touched surfaces. Honoring the late great Dr. Thompson, we get The Fear when we hear someone cough. These conditions suck, that’s the only way to put it; but would you rather be sick?

I see folks with tempers on the edge; I’ve been chewed out over the phone more times recently than I care to remember. Yet I also see patience and kindness. I see people stepping back from their own busy lives, considering the lives of others. It’s as if we’ve finally realized we’re one people, together on this big blue marble floating through an endless void, finally pausing to take stock of ourselves. Like Bill said, be excellent to each other. M’kay?