The market was very crowded today, suggesting that either the effects of the first round of hoarding have worn off or people fear the worst is yet to come. In the initial round of hoarding, people probably loaded up for two or three weeks. Therefore stocks could be running low now. Perhaps there is a second wave of hoarding that follows the first for some people. Alternatively, the news could be re-frightening people with prophesies about the real doom and gloom really coming this time.
The number of masks were much higher than last week. It was not just blacks and Asians wearing them. About a third of the people had something on their face, like a bandanna, medical grade mask or the stuff workmen use. Probably forty percent of this group was kitted out like they were going to rob the payroll stage coach traveling down from Albany. For some reason they did not look as silly as the people with the dust masks on their faces, but they did look foolish.
Masks probably have some impact on slowing the spread of an infection, but nowhere near what the alarmist claim. Life is a not a sterile environment and people are not wearing those masks 24-hours per day. What they are doing with those masks is reducing the number of times they touch a foreign object, like the carts at the market, and then touching their faces. Unless they are sanitizing every surface and then washing their hands vigorously, they are not avoiding the bug.
The market itself was completely stocked, except for cleaning supplies, which probably says we have moved from the fear of not having snacks phase to the people have been cooped up in their homes too long phase. The homes of America have probably never been so clean. At some point that will get tiresome and the demand for household cleaners will return to normal. People respond to what they see. If the promised bodies in the streets do not show up soon, the great cleaning frenzy quickly ends.
The lines at checkout were very long, about 40-minutes. The procedure was the same as last week, but the higher volume and the lower number of checkout people made for a long wait. The store has started refusing the grimy canvas sacks the anointed have been using to display their love of Gaia. It turns out that the nation’s octogenarians are more important than climate change. It also means these dingbat moralizers will have to find a new way to display their virtue. Perhaps they should wear masks.
In front of me in the checkout line was a women probably in her mid-30’s. In front of her was a pudgy guy in his mid-40’s. Let’s call her “Desert” and he can be “Thirsty” in this little drama. Thirsty kept trying to strike up a conversation with Desert. She was having none of it, doing the thing women do in clubs to blow off some loser. She kept responding with short answers that would not naturally elicit a response. Poor old Thirsty kept trying, which is why he is so thirsty.
Eventually, Desert turned around to me and started making small talk. Maybe under different circumstance I would have been flattered, but I hate standing in lines and I had just watched her shoot down poor Thirsty. I decided to display my power level by doing to her what she had just done to the poor loser in front of her. Of course, this only intensified her interest in me. I’ve never been much for game, but it was a nice reminder that the fundamentals of human nature never change, not even in a panic.
Watching a fashionable sort try to hide her grimy canvas sacks, now that they are no longer a positive moral signifier, I thought about the alarmists. The HBD crowd has gone totally mad over this virus. Any deviation from their extreme position on this is now treated as heresy. There’s a UFO cult quality to what’s going on with those people, as if the coronavirus is a savior, rather than a fact of nature. The slightest bit of skepticism is treated as if the person is denying there is such a thing as a virus
One reason for this is a lack of confidence. Fanatics tend to attack the less fanatical because the mere presence of them calls into question their extreme position on whatever is the main belief. On the one hand, there is status that comes from staking out the most pure position. On the other hand, those who are unwilling to following along call into question that extreme position. They must, therefore, be anathematized and discredited to maintain the extreme position.
There is a good chance we will get to see a large scale reenactment of what was described in When Prophecy Fails. We are probably at the 12:05 mark of that process, maybe the 12:10 mark. We were supposed to have hundreds of thousands in the hospital at this point and it is twenty thousand. With the fever abating in Europe and the economy in ruins, the political class will be lifting the siege in the next couple of weeks. That’s when the clock strikes 4:00 AM for the great virus scare.
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