The beginning of the end (or, at least, the in-between)

I ran in to my writer friend at Trader Joe’s, because of course I did.

Because these days are strange and surreal and feel like the plot of a book, or at least an apocalyptic short story. We checked in with each other every few aisles to compare notes on the fascinating display of gonzo market research and social psychology that marked the scene.

The store was decently populated. Regular traffic, no more and no fewer shoppers than one can usually expect on a Friday night. But the place was unusually silent and the shoppers you’d run into were weirdly polite and vaguely uncomfortable, as if they felt guilty about coming to stock up on items or nervous that their fellow shoppers might be ready to attack at any moment.

The aisles had been haphazardly ransacked – items were alternately either fully stocked or completely missing in an almost nonsensical manner. Apparently, for some reason, you need all of the sliced cheddar, mild pico de gallo, tortillas and flatbread you can accumulate in the event of an apocalypse, but havarti or hot pico or french bread won’t do.

Almost all of the pasta was gone but none of the sauces. Deli turkey was awol but roast beef and pastrami were in plentiful supply. Butter? Gone. Olive oil everwhere. Ketchup gone. Mustard, mayo, not to mention things like horseradish aoli, were all fine.

No toilet paper, but tons of soap and dish detergent. I got the last package of facial tissues and the last bottle of multi purpose cleaner just in case of…I’m not honestly certain. Popcorn and chips and cookies and beer and wine supplies were normal.

Strange days, indeed.