I made a quick grocery store run after dinner: parchment paper, spreadable butter, cheez-its, cat food. It was the cat food we needed right away. But at my Safeway, when you walk through the doors, you’re looking down the paper goods aisle, and there, for the first time since April or May, were bare metal shelves again.
I felt the weight of it settling on my chest. One more thing to worry about. How much toilet paper did we have at home? Six or Seven rolls. How long would that last, now that Katie was back in the house? I wasn’t sure. When this happened in the spring we were living apart. I learned to use less, made what I had last a long time, and eventually the shelves were stocked again. Seven rolls will go at least twice as fast this time.
And I do all the grocery shopping. Katie hates it. I don’t mind. But the toilet paper will definitely be my problem now.
This is day 2 of “Purple Tier.” Probably everybody else who went shopping today did the same math. How much do I have, how long will it last, and probably most of them grabbed a package just to be safe. Every one of those households has someone whose job it is to worry about toilet paper. So this was all predictable.
And that’s part of what I’m spiraling tonight. All of this was predictable. All of it was preventable. But what we actually did was nothing, and even though this was the only possible outcome of doing nothing, I was still hoping for better. I am still let down.
I got back from the grocery run a little over three hours ago. I put groceries away. I fed the cat. I folded laundry. I thought about going down to the basement and cleaning out the dryer ducts. I wanted something to do. But nothing fun. Nothing I like to do seemed fun, or fair, or interesting. And what I felt like doing was nothing. Lying face down in the dark. And that gave me one more thing to do, not fun.
Six weeks ago my father died. Even before that, I wasn’t exactly bursting with energy. It’s been a long, awful year. But after he died, I had some days that just disappeared, where I didn’t want to do anything, didn’t have the energy to do anything. That’s a normal part of the grieving process, but in marriage counseling, our therapist told me I should write out what I was feeling when that happened, read it back later, try to understand the thought processes that led to that feeling. I told him that I didn’t feel like I worked that way — that if I tried to write down what I was feeling, I would force it into a logical structure or shape, the shape of words, and that what I wrote would describe A feeling, but that it wouldn’t be what I WAS feeling. But Katie was on his side — so much so that she gave me a big shit-eating grin, as if you say “see? I told you so,” so there was no winning that fight.
And tonight was the first time since that session that I’ve felt so at a loss. So restless and unambitious all at once. So here is my homework.