I decide to try grocery shopping at the time set aside for those 60 years old and older – 8-9 a.m. Some 60 people are waiting for the store to open. One man, wearing mask and gloves, becomes nearly hysterical when someone stands three feet too close. He moves deeper into the crowd, making himself more threatening than the person he was upset with.
The doors open. As I enter the store, I watch elderly people grab a wipe from the dispenser and break into almost a run. They are rushing to the paper aisle, where they will find – no toilet paper. This is the last time I come at the senior citizen hour. It’s too painful to watch.
We live in a culture that has never known want. Few people remember what Norman Borlaug called the moving geography of starvation, including the Great Depression of the 1930s. This country knew hunger, and not on a small scale. My mother, who grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, told us stories about going to bed hungry, not even a loaf of bread in the house. I’ve never had that experience, not am I interested in having that experience.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Photograph: A pandemic grocery shopper.