We are the lucky ones, distancing in an already pretty distanced place. On country roads, plenty of space for walking, biking, breathing easy.
One neighbor says not to worry because another neighbor has forty rolls of toilet paper, which her boyfriend nabbed before the shit hit the fan. If need be, we can beg for some.
Rio the border collie greets all brown vans with great enthusiasm because the UPS driver always gives him a biscuit. Bob thanks the driver for a delivery today, then, as he drives off, reminds him “Wash your hands!” Driver yells out the window, “I have 150 more deliveries to make. I don’t have time to wash my hands.”
We would like to wash our hands of this horrible new world. At this, soap and water not effective. Still, we are the lucky ones.
The Leverett Village Co-Op was about to go under in February, but some dedicated board members stuck it out, mobilizing volunteers to keep it going. Now it is the best place around to shop, reliably offering staples, safe protocols, and good cheer. Call them to check on how their supplies are holding out, and a real person answers the phone.
Faced with a shortage of hand sanitizer, they found a recipe online involving aloe vera and isopropyl alcohol and filled a huge pump bottle at the entrance. They are now the remote pickup location for fresh produce that can be ordered online from a consortium of local farms.
There is also take-out food, like broccoli soup and reuben sandwiches, pumpernickel with tempeh bacon and sauerkraut, slathered with home-made Russian dressing. Greeting cards by local artists. Wine and beer. And in a pinch, we could walk there, taking a short cut over the power line and picking our way around the beaver pond.
Farm stands and local stores are seeing big surge of demand. Not that supermarket shelves are bare, mostly because few people are driving to work for a paycheck, making it less convenient to shop at stores more than ten miles away. And there’s something soothing about sidestepping global supply chains and seeing your neighbors, if only at a distance of six feet. Nowadays, six feet feels close.
Not that we are self-sufficient. Late Sunday night a deafening lightening strike blew out the water pump and the modem, two absolute necessities. Yet by Monday afternoon, both a plumber and a tech guy had rallied to our rescue.
A friend’s elderly mother who lives in Virginia shared the following joke: Cleaning lady to client: “Don’t worry, I’m working from home. If you have Zoom I can walk you through it.”
We can still laugh. We are the lucky ones.