Friday, March 13, 2020

Supermarket Opening in Ocean Grove part 2

Watching the news this morning as I was getting ready for my day I saw a familiar sight- the supermarket across the street from where I live.  The news story was that early in the morning that 24 hour store was mobbed with crazed shoppers.  Right now this country is in the midst of a pandemic, the covid 19 virus has arrived and ain't going away, despite our president's insistence for weeks that it would. The virus is said to be highly contagious, and some experts predict that eventually most of the people in this country will have it.  There is no cure, and a preventing vaccine is likely at least a year away at best.

The good news is that most will survive it- the mortality rate is fairly low, mostly affecting the elderly who also already have other health issues.  But that hasn't stopped a lot of people from panicking.  For instance, the university that employs me has joined the throng and decided to close their campus to faculty and students through the end of March.  But classes will still be going on by remote learning, which means using the internet to teach them.  Art is not a subject that works well under such circumstances (art has been taught person to person for many centuries), and we were only given one day's notice to make the changes, which had to be reported to the school.  Like everyone else I have given them enough for now, and I'll get it figured out as I go- don't have class again for another week.  And in general anything that involves gathering in public places has been cancelled or postponed, which also complicates my classes, but we're working on those plans, too.  Since none of my immediate family has been affected yet, the biggest problem I have faced is the loss of basketball- all the seasonal college tournaments went from no changes, to playing with no live audience, to cancelled and the season is over, sometimes in the same day.  (it kind of hurt)  I also learned today that the fish and chips Lenten dinner at a local church was called off, the second biggest disappointment, but with most of the participants being elderly people, it's probably for the best.  The reception for the fiber arts show in Belmar this weekend was cancelled (again, a very old audience), which saves me from having to go blog about it.

But I still can't figure out the supermarket thing.  Panic buying I understand- we have a lot of storms come through in the course of a year.  My mother has remarked how every time snow is threatened, everyone wants to make French Toast.  (rapidly buying bread, eggs, and butter). Hurricanes and nor'easters have the same effect, both before and after.  Hurricane Sandy took away our electricity for 10 days, and those stores that could open were quickly emptied of any food that didn't require refrigeration or complex cooking, as well as batteries of all sizes and candles.  I always prepare so I don't have to fight for that stuff later, but I understand the demand.  Weird stuff this time around.  My mother mentioned going to a supermarket recently and no jars of spaghetti sauce were available, as if everyone in the area decided that was the best food to eat during this time.  I hear bottled water is getting bought up rapidly, but I don't know why, as water flows from the tap just fine and this virus has nothing to do with the water supply.  Hand sanitizer, I can see that one- I use regular soap and water, but a lot of people prefer the waterless lotions as a preventive for this virus, so it's sold out everywhere and impossible to get.  But what really mystifies me is the demand for toilet paper. It's what people were scrambling to get this morning, and the other day I saw a news story about two women who came to blows fighting over the last bundle in another store.  And when I stopped by a supermarket later today on the way home,  looked down the paper aisle and the shelves were barren of everything except the signs telling people of limits per customer on these items. For the few who get this disease it's a respiratory illness, so why is so much toilet paper needed? Perhaps there's a supermarket print in all this.  Have to give it some thought.

Meanwhile, I have a current supermarket print show to deal with.  When I dropped off the prints a few days ago was told it would probably be up in two days, so since I was in Ocean Grove anyway, I decided to go see how it had gone.  Plus, I had e-mailed a bio and artist statement and wanted to see if they had gotten it.  By the afternoon the rain had stopped, so I just walked up the street to see what was what.  Despite the sun and relatively warm day, the streets were pretty empty- saw more dogs being walked than pedestrians, but that is typical of Ocean Grove.

Since the other day her plan for hanging the show changed a little. The framed print was now on another wall opposite these, and the ten unframed prints hung edge to edge on the empty wall, just filling the space. My statement stuck to the wall just beneath them in the middle, as seen above.  The prints are all at eye level, and the bold images are easily noticed and draw attention.  Of course, the store was empty today in early March, but I know how this town is, and a little later this spring the crowd will start showing up, and people start wandering into all these stores, and if the right person sees a print, I may get a sale.  So we shall see.


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