Last week was rough. Tuesday’s post making fun of people hoarding toilet paper seemed innocent enough at the time, but turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy when the shelves here in town were picked clean of TP and Tara announced we were kinda, sorta running low ourselves. Suddenly, the situation was a lot less amusing. And the dominoes kept falling: South Dakota reported its first cases of coronavirus, every sporting event is cancelled, schools are shutting down, and events are being postponed indefinitely. We are now officially “victims” ourselves as the Foreigner concert we were looking forward to next weekend in Deadwood is no longer happening.
I know I shouldn’t complain about such an insignificant thing in the overall context of what so many others are going through. I have friends who are being forced to cancel dream vacations and once-in-a-lifetime outings, so: perspective. It’s annoying and frustrating, but not the end of the world (yet, at least). We have a hotel room booked next Saturday in Lead because we’d planned on making a weekend of the concert, and unless we’re all quarantined or on lockdown or all the businesses are closed (knock on wood), we’re still going. Maybe we can find “Jukebox Hero” on an actual jukebox or something. It’s good that everybody is taking precautions, but my parents and in-laws both live in Washington state, and they aren’t about to start donning protective suits every time they leave the house. “Still gotta live. Still gotta enjoy life,” my MIL posted on Instagram yesterday from their local cineplex. Man, I echo that sentiment.
A few people have commented on the fact that we can still go out to museums and aren’t being forced to work from home. Yet. (Let’s just make “yet” the understood caveat here so I don’t have to keep typing it.) Living in a sparsely populated state has its advantages in times of crisis. We are much less affected than many others. If we still lived in Washington, we’d be in quarantine right now, because two employees with the company I worked for inadvertently exposed the whole office. It feels like we’ve dodged so many bullets since moving out here in 2018. That’s probably a good topic for a future post.
My stress level reached a climax on Friday. I’m in charge of maintaining our local events calendars at work, and so many things have been cancelled or postponed, I was struggling to keep up. I’d update one thing, and by the time I finished, two more needed editing. And then we ventured out in a snowstorm for sushi and grocery shopping, but when we got to Safeway, they weren’t just out of toilet paper: half the shelves were bare. No milk. No bread. No meat. No potato chips even. Everything was in disarray, cans and boxes knocked over while vacant-eyed shoppers pushed mostly-empty carts down the aisles mechanically as if in search of not only essential household items, but meaning to the madness. As with the grocery staples, this was a futile pursuit. The cashier looked like a zombie himself and said, “I’m not going to lie…I’m not having a great day.” I left the store kinda freaked out. The whole experience felt surreal, a scene I never thought I’d witness in my lifetime. I felt like a character in one of those post-apocalyptic dystopian novels I am so fond of reading.
Note to self: stop reading post-apocalyptic dystopian novels.
After such a rough week, we needed to do something fun yesterday. So we got up super early and hit the road for Custer State Park not long after sunrise. Not that there was a sun in the sky we could even see; we’d gotten 6″ of snow overnight and it was still falling when we left. The whole day was gloomy: foggy, with flurries and drizzle, and temps in the mid-20s. We got to the park, which is essentially a 71,000-acre wildlife reserve, and pretty much had the whole thing to ourselves. We spent two hours driving the Wildlife Loop. In that whole time we saw one snowplow, two other cars, and countless antelope and bison. I’d say we earned an A+ in social distancing on Saturday!
I’m not going to devote this entire blog to COVID-19. There’s plenty of media saturation already and I’m sure everybody is growing weary of the topic. Plus, we need lighthearted distractions. I’ll keep you updated on what’s going on out here, but I’ll also try to bring da funny.
Or at least plenty of pics.
Stay safe and stay sane, folks!