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March 14, 2020:

RAIDERS OF THE LOST TOILET PAPER: THE INSANITY CONTINUES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, the insanity continues.  Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, the insanity continues, with panic and hysteria-ridden types back at the market loading up more carts filled with anything they can fit in them – this is, where I come from, called hoarding.  You’ll note that the only thing they are not hoarding is fruits and vegetables, because they can’t freeze them or put them in the garage, and they go bad quickly.  No, they just want to have their 100 rolls of toilet paper and their fifty rolls of paper towels and their 200 bottles of water because those things are going to be so helpful to them.  They must have thirty frozen dinners because those are going to get them through some mighty tough times, they’ve got to have forty boxes of pasta, and reams of rice, and bread, oh, Lord, can’t live without the bread.  But at this point, they’re basically so insane that they’ll just grab anything off the shelf because panic is irrational, and these people have left rational about five miles away.  People read false stuff, believe it, spread it, and on it goes.  They have no idea how you actually can get this thing and they also don’t acknowledge that the majority of the infected have mild to no symptoms and get over it quickly – that doesn’t feed into the panic and hysteria, so no one wants to know from it.  Yes, before someone calls me a big, bad old Jew, there are tragic cases and deaths with most of it happening to people who are high risk and who have compromised immune systems.  THEY are the ones the hoarders are hurting, the high riskers who might actually need stuff.

Last night, for example, for fun I drove to the nearby Gelson’s at nine-fifteen, just to see how crazy it was, since when I was there on Wednesday I got right in and out.  The parking lot was empty, so I thought that was a good sign.  In fact, the only human I saw was a Gelson’s employee loading his trunk with tons a huge plastic waters and toilet paper.  So, I got out of the car to see what it was like inside the store.  Well, it was closed.  Gelson’s closes at eleven.  Not anymore.  Now it’s nine.  What if someone needed some produce or something that was on the shelves that the hoarders didn’t want.  Tough.  Then I drove to the nearby Rite-Aid.  It was almost completely empty of folks, but while waters and toilet paper and paper towels were out, I’m sure (didn’t look) they had canned goods (only soup, though), lots of frozen dinners, ice cream, and all the chips, nuts, and candy you could ever hope to consume.  I bought a few snack things just for the evenings – pretzels, bite-size candies, that kind of thing.  I was in and out in five minutes.  But the tales of Ralph’s and Von’s and especially Trader Joe’s were horrifying – lines out the door, no parking, no carts, and certainly no food.  People are actually buying crap that they would NEVER ordinarily buy.  But there’s one other thing at play that no one mentions – and that is the disgusting people who buy to resell on eBay.  I dare you to go on eBay and search hand sanitizer and toilet paper and you’ll understand who, at least in part, is causing this.  I suspect it will die down by next week, but until then I guarantee you that hoarders will make endless repeat visits to their local markets.  And the insanity continues, not helped at all by the ineptitude of the president and his administration, which has handled this shamefully.

Yesterday was okay.  I got about seven hours of sleep again, got up, and spent most of the day working on the musical I’m working on – getting the script in shape so people can actually read it, recording some of the songs I hadn’t made recordings of, and having a few telephonic calls, too.  I picked up a couple of packages and a small residual from the Penn and Teller show, put that in the ATM, and then came home.  I did more work at the piano, and then sat on my couch like so much fish and promptly dozed off.  I was actually going to go down to the theater but slept too long.  I’m told it was an excellent performance for a small house that was hugely appreciative – and brave for coming out.  The theater is doing everything according to the procedures suggested and I’m sure it was all very safe there and no one really had to sit too close to anyone else.

I watched a bit of the Woody Allen movie, Husbands and Wives, about forty minutes of it before I had to just turn it off.  I loathed it when I saw it at the theater and loathed it equally as much watching it again.  For me, it’s as bad as Woody gets when he’s bad.  I know others like it, but not me.  After that, I listened to music of all kinds – some Richard Rodney Bennett classical works, the soundtrack to Dark of the Sun by Jacques Loussier, and some classical stuff by little-known composers.

Today, I can sleep in, then I may just go out and have a proper meal – nothing too heavy – perhaps a nice sandwich somewhere, or a nice salad or a nice breakfast burrito – something like that.  Then I’ll relax, record the final two songs I have to record, then I’ll be attending the evening show and hoping we have a nice number of attendees.  Then there’s a little after party.

Tomorrow, I’ll attend our closing matinee, then sup with Barry and Cindy Pearl after.  Next week, I really hope to approve a galley and cover proofs sooner than later – if it doesn’t arrive on Monday, I’ll make a call about it – I have to pull together the Kritzerland show – just need to more females and it’s cast.  Right now I haven’t heard that Vitello’s has any plans of cancelling and we’re still two and a half weeks out, so we’ll see how it goes.  I’d like to tough it out and I think the cast is pretty willing to do that.  Whether we can get people to show up is another story.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, have a proper meal, hopefully pick up packages, relax, and then attend our evening performance and the after party.  Today’s topic of discussion: Share your stories of panic shopping and behavior you’ve seen during this weird time.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as the insanity continues but will, I’m praying, hopefully abate next week and sooner than later.

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