Saturday, March 21, 2020

What's Going On?

Yesterday I walked the Hudson Pier for about two hours and used a public toilet, twice.  Using rubber gloves, washing hands and sitting quietly and watching the water and ferry's pull out and in with their few passengers commuting in and out of NYC.  I came home on one with one passenger and her bike whom shared with me this was the first time out of her apartment in a week since this began. She had been to Trader Joe's the other white persons version of Whole Foods and found the shelves empty and was shocked.  I said again this is about lack of clear leadership, reassurance and well civility in a time of need.

And for the record I have watched the poor also hoard as they descend upon BJ's Wholesale Club and Costco with carts overflowing with water and paper products making me wonder what the fuck they are doing with that and for what purpose.  Meanwhile I walked up to my local bodega bought my usual environmentally friendly paper towel and toilet roll pack as always I do every two weeks.  Where am storing this shit exactly? If I am trapped in my house I don't need it cluttered with that. And for the record during my sitting on the bench I read the Wall Street Journal about food and well shocking, I know not really, there is no shortage.   With restaurants closing down there is now a redirection needed of the supply chain and there is more than ample food available to move from farm to table (that is for you white folks and sustainable folks) but there is no shortage of food.

Fuck that GG I am going out and getting all the frozen pizza and smoothie mix as I wait to die.  Glad to see you are mixing it up a little with some fruit thrown in there that way you won't get blocked up and waste all that toilet paper you got stashed.

Again what this crisis has shown is that we have a two tier economy, the have and the have nots. The reality is I don't want to go to the store nor do I want to have all my food delivered. The behavior in the store is disturbing to watch, it is a type of petri dish on its own, I feel for the clerks and in turn I used to love to be inspired by shopping to plan my menu and fly on a whim, which is why I love farmers markets but now it is as if I am on a subway at rush hour.  Again I can afford delivery but picking my own avocado is a plus and the two limes I threw in on my Whole Foods list were the size of dimes and I just know I could do better but hey the flowers were perfect and again I am not going to go to Nunnery lifestyle during this.

I spent the better part of three years living in social isolation and its why I moved here to Jersey City to partake in the arts, to wander streets that I loved visiting in Manhattan to now finally having the opportunity to  know them.  That all came to a halt last week.  I have spent the better part of four months since moving here traveling back and forth to Nashville to finish my dental treatment which today is non-essential. Apparently no one in Government has lived without teeth, trust me they are essential to health and well being.  You know building immunity and strength thorough healthy eating.  Just like optical care and physical therapy and massage,  that again done with consenting adults and through protective measures and some accounting for personal responsibility might be possible but nope this is not about that this is about who can be the biggest dick.   Literally there are few rational voices and even the respectable Dr who eye rolls and face palms behind Trump is doing little to reassure people, he is just not the dude for this nor the woman who is also a Corvid czar as she keeps blaming Millennials and frankly while I agree on that I just cannot blame them for this.  Again the millennials are the dumbest motherfuckers I have met.  Watch Leslie Jones special on Netflix and she assesses that quite accurately.  Again one of my Concierge's is so uniformed and so arrogant that he had no idea that Miami had shut down beaches and were following the same protocol as here and California.  His story was that airfare was 53 bucks so who cares.  He is beyond the pale as one of the many who I find annoying and pretend to like but cannot wait to evoke my new vow of silence when this is over.  Plus I will go in and out through the garage if I can to avoid this as it is all too much for me again making me wish I had found a private apartment but then who would receive all my packages that I now need delivered? Shit white people problems!

Now again we know the virus which is now the "Chinese" virus began months ago and that in fact since Trump naps during security briefings was unaware of this and nothing was done. Well there you go. And we now have entered into full blown hysteria with little rational thought or understanding about disease, disease transmission and other cultural variants which may have contributed to the spread of this virus.  Again this is about some of that as well as the reality that why disease prevention is one of the most important variants in this so washing hands and cleaning  places of business should be business as usual and apparently we learned that may not be so. Good to know as I will actually keep these pre-cautionary measures in the future.  But here is a little side note about China and the culture of spitting.  Interesting as that is thing that having lived in San Francisco for a decade was aware of  and was horrified when I saw it and then it was explained to me.  Still not a fan it and again I think that well that might need to be as a potential problem going forward.  As for highly religious folks, Southern folks with your hugging and that whole big family bullshit also may be a problem.  Love that you live with granny but seriously at one point are you not respecting boundaries regarding health and well being?  Same with shoving a family member in a some Nursing home, clear respect there.   What a cruise not available?   Never been prouder of being a WASP in my life as I have now.  Maybe there is no correlation but fuck it I am already realizing how tough I am since this began and well again I hate being wrong.  As killing off old people and white men faster than women may be a blessing in disguise.  **wink wink**

 So changing behavior and respect might be a good start and by that I mean having clear boundaries, respecting yourself and others as one should and not having a crisis in which to take on that behavior.  And in turn this bullshit where we care about one another I have not seen one example of that so far.  NOT ONE.  So fuck you.

Here is what I have said repeatedly.  If you are willing to forego civil rights during a crisis as in 9/11 and pass surveillance laws and have Cops basically know and track you and the Government which has had that right for over a decade why are you not now? Surprise they can and could but nope now its guess, you figure it out, track your movements, wrap yourself in saran wrap and never leave your house only to get supplies to then not know who you are encountering or whose delivering all those Amazon rolls of toilet paper to your door but then later hear that another case has been diagnosed.  Hey thanks for that info and that tells me what and who and where and when. So you see why for many this does not provide a sense of urgency and import.  So yes I want to let go of my personal freedoms in this case are  you?

That said out of the darkness comes a voice of wisdom and it is a woman, a Doctor and she is sane. Read her words and realize that sense and sensibility exist just not in the White House.  It is about respect.  Yes that little word that we in America long forgot and dismiss as weakness.  Well fuck you it appears we are the strongest.  So go hoard your food assholes and know that you are just that an ASSHOLE so go wipe your ass with your toilet paper stashed in your closet and then stay in there for all I care.  I am going to walk and live but with caution and care.  I like personal distancing frankly it enables me to be away from ASSHOLES.  And on that note on my walk I saw a sticker attached to a sign it said:  Fear is more contagious and dangerous and utterly one you can control.  

‘If coronavirus doesn’t get us, starvation will’: A growing number of Americans say they can’t afford to stock up on groceries

The Washington Post
By Abha Bhattarai
March 20, 2020

She was running out of food, but Patricia Brown had to wait.

She waited until the third Wednesday of the month, the day her Social Security check landed in the bank, before she got into her Nissan and drove to the local supermarket in search of a few basics: spaghetti, ground beef and distilled water for her sleep apnea machine.

But by the time she’d arrived, all of those items were gone. It had been over a week since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had urged Americans like her — older, with chronic health conditions — to “stock up” and stay home because of the deepening coronavirus crisis, which was upending every aspect of daily life and shutting down entire cities. The president even went on TV to urge people to avoid gatherings of more than 10.

But like millions of Americans on fixed incomes, who rely on social security, disability checks or food stamps to buy necessities each month, Brown doesn’t have much of a choice. It is nearly impossible, she says, to stock up on food, medication or other necessities beyond what she would normally buy.

“Of course I would’ve liked to buy groceries sooner,” said Brown, 69, a retired courtroom clerk in Burlington, N.C. “But I’m only getting checks once a month. Once that’s gone, I’m broke until the next one comes.”

As layoffs skyrocket, the holes in America’s safety net are becoming apparent

Across the country, already-struggling Americans are being urged to buy more at one time and embrace social distancing to help slow the outbreak’s spread. At the same time, supermarkets are getting picked over, as panic-stricken consumers snap up rice, pasta, beans and canned vegetables — the kind of inexpensive staples that Brown has learned to stretch into a month’s worth of meals.

White House officials are considering various emergency measures to help Americans, including sending $1,000 checks directly to workers in coming weeks. But while that money may provide temporary relief — and enough cash to pay for groceries and other expenses short-term, many say it would not provide long-term security at a time when jobs are drying up and the economy teeters toward recession.

More than 37 million Americans — or about 1 in 9 people — struggled to put food on the table in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That number could soon double as the outbreak wreaks havoc on workers around the country, said Katie Fitzgerald, chief operating officer of Feeding America, a nonprofit that oversees 200 food banks. Already, companies like Marriott International, MGM Resorts and Caesars have signaled plans to shed thousands of jobs as hotels, restaurants and retail shops suspend or curtail business to wait out the worst of the pandemic. On Thursday, jobless claims jumped 33 percent to 281,000, and economists say that number could jump eightfold this coming week.

Food banks, she said, are seeing anywhere from two to four times the number of people they typically serve. Thousands are queuing up at drive-up food pantries in Texas, Virginia, Michigan and beyond.

“This pandemic is changing the face of food insecurity in America,” she said. “It’s an incredible challenge: At the same time that demand is spiking and people are in need, food is becoming very difficult to get.”

Food banks are seeing volunteers disappear and supplies evaporate as coronavirus fears mount

Brown drove to her local Aldi on Wednesday morning. She put on a pair of disposable gloves and piled her cart with two cases of dried ramen, two boxes of rice, frozen flounder, and canned chicken, green beans and corn. “I wanted fresh tuna but it was too expensive — $8 or something,” she said. Instead, she picked the 95-cent version in a can and splurged on a $2.29 tin of pink salmon. She spent $109 in all.

A ‘humbling experience’

More than 1 in 5 U.S. families receives some form of government assistance every month, a number that could grow rapidly in coming weeks as retailers, restaurants and hotels lay off thousands of service workers who already live paycheck to paycheck. The average Social Security payment is about $1,500 a month, while disability checks average less than $1,300. For many people, that has to cover all other expenses — housing, utilities — on top of groceries.

Since the first U.S. case of covid-19 was reported in late January, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. workers have been laid off or had their hours reduced because of the coronavirus, according to a recent poll by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist. Economists say more than 1 million Americans are expected to lose their jobs by the end of March, creating an entirely new category of Americans who are suddenly struggling to make ends meet.

Things were going well for David Anthony. He had a steady job at a warehouse that specializes in commercial sinks and shelving. He operated a forklift and made $13.30 an hour.

But he got laid off two weeks ago as the outbreak obliterated demand. A temp agency placed him at a factory that made pancake batter mix, but two days later, he got a pink slip there, too.

“I’m trying to find employment, but everything — and I mean everything — is being shut down because of this virus,” Anthony, 39, said.

He and his wife and children, ages 2 and 4, are living at an EconoLodge in Effingham, Ill., where they pay $291 a week. Most of their meals — consisting mostly of canned potatoes, green beans and SpaghettiOs purchased with food stamps — are cooked on an electric skillet or slow cooker in their motel room.

“Talk about a humbling experience,” he said. “Now we’re buying food as we go because shelter has become our main priority."

Anthony’s wife, he said, was making $9.25 an hour cleaning motel rooms. But bookings have dried up, creating more uncertainty.

The family has cut back on meat and fresh produce. Now Anthony, who has weathered periods of homelessness since he was 17, is wondering whether his family will soon be out of a place to live.

“All my kids’ lives, they’ve had a roof over their heads,” he said. “But now we’re worried: Will we have to go back to homeless camping? We still have our three-bedroom tent.”

“Forget stocking up,” Brandy Eggleston, 27, said. The best she and her family can do right now is try to survive.

Her household in Durham, N.C. — which includes her mother and stepfather, both on disability — doesn’t have consistent running water. But every supermarket in town is sold out of bottled water.

“We don’t have a car, so it’s hard to even get to the store,” she said. That requires asking a friend for a ride or paying Uber $13 for the five-mile trip. “And by the time we get to the store, everything is already picked over.”

As was the case Wednesday. The shelves at Walmart were nearly empty. She spent $34 on fish sticks, tangerines, frozen pancakes and syrup.

The companies that feed America brace for labor shortages and worry about restocking stores as coronavirus pandemic intensifies

“We’re on a very, very fixed income,” she said. “With everything that’s going on, that’s made it even harder to buy the things we need to.”

That’s also true in the Chicago suburbs, where the food pantries Sandra Lotz relies on have been stripped bare. The 60-year-old, who spent decades as a medical transcriptionist, had to stop working because of spinal stenosis and multiple myeloma, a form of bone and blood cancer.

Now she has two weeks to go before her $1,200 disability check arrives, and no money for groceries.

“We’ve been without food for four days,” she said. “People are panicking. I’m disabled with no vehicle and don’t know what to do."

Lotz, who supports her two adult children, recently went to the supermarket with $2, hoping to pick up a loaf of bread or a box of pasta for a few days’ worth of meals. But the shelves were largely bare.

“It was like the apocalypse was coming,” she said. “I needed cheap bread — you know, the kind that tastes like sawdust — and all they had was $4 and $5 loaves of Pepperidge Farm. If coronavirus doesn’t get us, starvation will."

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