Chronicles of the Plague Year #3

The novel corona virus has put a stop to a lot of things — work, shopping, gatherings, libraries, arts, culture, sports — but it hasn’t affected the ongoing business of looking after pre-existing medical conditions.  Therefore, I had to leave the house today to get some regular quarterly blood work done.  When we went shopping the other day, there were a couple of things that we couldn’t find so I was also tasked with finding those items. It was a minor adventure.

To get to the clinic I decided to take the bus, the first time for me since restrictions came into force.  I am used to the #20 being crammed to the doors and so it was a pleasant shock to see half the seats marked as not for use, and no-one standing. I found the last available seat and was happy enough. However, I was also glad I had on gloves to deal with all the surfaces and unconscious handling that goes on during a bus ride.

I was early for the clinic so I decided to visit Safeway first.  To get in the store I stood in a line that meandered all the way to Broadway Station; everyone six feet apart and amiable enough. It didn’t take too long. Once in, I went looking for the elusive frozen peas which turned out to be non-existent. Frozen peas?  I barely understand a run on Kleenex, and I have been baffled by toilet paper hoarding. But frozen peas, come on! I did find a baguette and some bagels so I considered myself fortunate.

Most of my shopping is done at SuperValu, the East End Food Co-op, and the smaller grocery stores on the Drive. Other than peas, these places have been pretty good at keeping their shelves stocked.  But walking around Safeway, I was reminded of old US propaganda movies about empty shelves in Soviet stores.

In the end, I walked down to Donald’s where I found a small bag of very expensive organic frozen peas. I had no choice but to snatch up the last pack, along with a couple of nectarines that are probably far too early in the season.  Great paper bag they gave me, though.

In between Safeway and Donald’s I went to the blood clinic.  Normally that too is bursting at the seams with clients. Today it was entirely empty apart from phlebotomists wearing masks and visors, and I was in and out in three minutes flat. The receptionist told me that they were used to 350-400 clients a day but were currently only seeing about 40 a day.  My advice — if you need blood work done, this is the time to go!

Now I am back at home, clothes changed and hands scrubbed.  I’ll be quite content to sit here for another few days now that I’ve had my quota of sunshine and distant social interactions.

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