You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about the coronavirus, and today will be no different. Sorry about that.

In fact my column was bumped last week because of it. I’m not one to watch the news, but the hubby does, so every day I get to hear about it. At that time, although it was very serious in China and Italy, it was not yet here in our area. But that soon changed.

While volunteering, I was popping those packing bubbles, the big ones that are like a small balloon. One was giving me trouble and so I pressed down on it and the air blasted me in the face. Someone mentioned the air was from China. Fear had entered the building. I quickly wiped my face, momentarily concerned, then told myself I was being silly. I felt certain this virus wouldn’t affect me — until it did.

Its first “attack” came March 12. I was looking forward to a two-day sewing get-together right here in town for Friday and Saturday. The person in charge called me and said it was being canceled because of the virus. That’s right. The virus got me right in the heart. The pain was real and lasted three days.

The next afternoon the folks in charge of the bus trip I was taking on March 28 postponed until summer because of the risk of that rampant rascal named coronavirus. Now I felt feverish, my body ached, and depression was moving in. But in retrospect I was relieved because I wouldn’t be traveling outside my area and entering quilt shops that surely would have others coming from other areas, greatly increasing my chances of getting sick. Truthfully I wasn’t that worried about getting sick (at the time). I was way more worried about unknowingly passing it on.

That evening I got an email from my supervisor saying she was suspending all volunteering until she felt it was safe to have us come back. Oh just shoot me now! I found it hard to breathe and had to take to my bed, I was so upset. Then they closed my church and suspended my quilt group. This stupid virus was killing me in its own sneaky, insipid way as I watched my life temporarily passing me by.

As for the toilet paper issue, I was baffled. What did toilet paper have to do with a virus coming? Scrolling through Facebook I saw the silliest things. People hooking a sprayer up to their toilet, or labeling each sheet off the roll with a day of the week that one square could be used, a sign that said “the struggle is real, folks” as a man sawed a roll of paper towels in half.

Funnier stuff: A dog “destroyed the family fortune” when he got into and chewed up a multi-pack of toilet paper; two dinosaurs watching a meteor heading their way and one says “we need to get toilet paper,” and my two favorites:  necklaces draped over rolls of toilet paper in a jewelry store with the promise of a free roll with every purchase, and a photographer sharing photos of a rare find in the woods. Behind all manner of trees were rolls of TP frolicking about.

While standing in line to get fabric cut I added to the topic of the day by asking what toilet paper had to do with this and one woman said she had just found that out. She said it was because all TP is manufactured in China. That seemed plausible until I got home and looked it up. Someone was messing with her head. It’s made in Oregon and Washington.

I should have known she was wrong long before I spread the rumor around a little bit myself because the stores are equally out of tissues, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, Clorox wipes, etc. It’s just people being over prepared in a rather rude way. They are not taking into consideration the mother who has two children with cystic fibrosis and no hand sanitizer available to her, or the diabetic man who needs but can’t find alcohol pads or anything like it.

And while out shopping I heard that the manager was handing out TP on the other side of the store so I sprinted in my most lady-like fashion hoping to score just two little rolls. No need to be greedy, I would just feel better if I had two more in the house. But the show was over when I got there and I was feeling a little sorry for myself until I heard a young man say, “This is ridiculous. I have none!” I almost offered him one of my paltry but doable six, but that seemed awkward as I didn’t have one on me.

It seems this virus is wreaking havoc on my city. Kudos to all who are doing their best to keep us safe and I will do my best to be patient.

debbiehough@hotmail.com

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