“Hi. I am coming down-island to do a shop…I thought I’d call ahead to see if you are busy?”
“Like it’s Xmas! It’s crazy!”
Friend J and I decide to go anyway. If this virus thing gets anymore crazy, then no one is going anywhere. We feel we have to shop while we still can. So, off we go…around noon on Thursday. We stop at the organic butcher on our way down. “Hey, that virus thing, eh? Heard Vancouver Island got their first case this morning. You guys affected? Like a run on porkchops or something.” “Nah. But the news is wrong. Little 10 year old exchange student from Japan just came down with it. He was in a local class all last week. They say the whole class is being tested!”
I drove to within a few blocks of Costco. Traffic was jammed. No one going anywhere. Pulled a few (illegal) driving tricks and managed to get into the parking lot (if you have a 4×4, you should use it, right?) but, of course, it was jammed. Found a spot and in we went. J headed right, I went left. “Say half an hour – give or take? Meet you at the hot dog stand?”
I kicked it up a few rpms and began my quest for a few family-packs of holy grails. I do not ‘push’ my cart when I am at Costco, I drive my cart! Further, when I kick it up few rpms, I am the fastest set of wheels in the store, bar none. I weave, I swerve, I charge at a blocked aisle like Bull elephant in heat. People MOVE! The timid cling to the sides, the stupid get ‘taken out’ (carts sent careening). And I do $500.00 worth of shopping in under twenty minutes.
After the final addition to the cart, I put ‘er in overdrive and head pell mell for the incredibly long cashier line ups that I saw earlier. My now heavily laden cart on two wheels and screeching around the last turn, I find a minor miracle. There is a welcoming cashier. Empty. Two staff coming to get my cart. Smiling. They, too, are in a self-imposed contest to be the fastest checker-outers and they must be leading the pack. I am out of there three minutes later.
But I do not have toilet paper. Nor Phyllo pastry either. And no, they are not interchangeable.
J and I fill the car, head out and go home. We are greeted by our wives like savage hunters carrying a Wilde beast-on-a-stick would be greeted by the village. They are pawing and gawking at the heaps of supplies. “Toilet Paper?”
I hang my head. Mumble something about bidets, the French, rags, finger bowls and Arabs….“WHAT did you say!?”
“Nothing, dear. I’ll find some TP. Don’t worry.”
It is Friday the 13th. Only an idiot would add to the currently high virus risk by going out on F-13. Still, when you think about it, if there is any TP out there in the urban jungle, this may be our last chance.