With all of the craziness going on in the world today due to the current pandemic, one thing has become abundantly clear: We are still just animals.
Animals have an amazing ability to survive. Some animals work together to survive as large family groups. Others live solitary lives and worry only about their own well-being. Humans tend to be somewhere in between. We care about others and their well-being…to a point. We work for the benefit of all in most circumstances. This way of life has benefited us for a very long time. Most humans, however will eschew this group-first mentality and become solitary hunters when panic sets in. This, I have witnessed firsthand.
When the Coronavirus began to enter America, most people were unfazed. “It’s just the flu,” most exclaimed. There was no panic and there were no shortages of the items we use in our day-to-day lives. Then it started to hit a little closer to home. It crossed over our borders and the whispers of widespread infection began to fill our ears. The news agencies, websites and word-of-mouth doomsday shouters began to preach about preparedness. Preparedness, of course, meant to buy up all you can and stuff your homes full. Having read about toilet paper shortages around the world, I picked up a package on one of my shopping trips. I probably could have waited a week or so but instead, I bought it while I was out shopping one day. Little did I know that those store shelves would be bare within days and my purchase that day would save me a lot of headaches.
When I go out for groceries, I now find myself having to go to store after store after store to find the items I need that I could normally find in just one store. The “every man for himself” mentality has set in. People are fighting over things that we normally take for granted. Some of us can wipe our asses for years to come while others of us have to stalk the delivery trucks or websites for new arrivals. I haven’t been able to find eggs in stores for about a week. Bread? Water? Baby wipes? Hand sanitizer? Forget it. These things are piled up in someone’s garage somewhere, I assume. Like this jackass here.
I felt like I won the lottery the other day when I was able to place an online order for toilet paper. I snatched up a pack, mere seconds before they were out of stock again. I have to wait over a week for delivery but I still have the other pack I bought just before this pandemic got completely insane. Well, before people got completely insane anyway. I wouldn’t normally worry about things like this, but with a family of 6 (and only 2 out of 4 not using a toilet, but in diapers) we go through a lot of toilet paper.
Life as we know it has changed, at least in the short term. If we are smart, we’ll make changes for the long term to prevent this from happening in the future. It would be such a waste of human life to continue going forward with a “life as usual” approach. As of tomorrow, March 27th, my state of New Hampshire is under a “stay-at-home” order. All non-essential businesses will be closing until May 4th. This doesn’t affect me too much as I work for an essential business. I still have to go to work. I won’t miss a paycheck. It might affect my shopping habits even more, but nothing overly drastic will happen. My neighbors will likely be affected in a much bigger way and my 14 year-old will continue his remote learning from home until then as well.
I think that the point of this post is to both vent a little bit but also to point out that we, as a species, can work together and thrive if we don’t allow panic to dictate our lives. The bipartisan efforts to get a deal on the stimulus package is a promising sign, though likely a short-lived collaboration between republicans and democrats. However, when we’re in dire straits, people can often look past differences and find common ground for the common good. If only we could do that on a daily basis, we could learn to function as one pack and not solitary hunters.
Looking out for each other should be a goal we all share, but sadly it isn’t. All too often I read stories, articles and blog posts about how one side said or did this and the other side said or did that. This “us vs. them” mentality needs to stop. There is no them. There is only us. When we label others as “them”, we are creating a rift. We are belittling all those we disagree with. We are creating enemies. Creating enemies benefits no one. When we say, “it’s all their fault”, then we have failed. There is always common ground to be found. All one needs to do is look. For that, we need to take off the blinders of our own group, and open our eyes to other points of view. Neither side is right all of the time, but together we can make better decisions for the benefit of all.