About this time last week, the Great TP Shortage of 2020 had finally hit Maine. I knew it was coming.

My first day of social distancing took me to Kennebago Road in Langtown Township to see the deer. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal

With a network of friends and family scattered across the country, I was able to track the arrival of the shortage as it made its way from the west coast and then up the eastern shore.

Toilet paper definitely wouldn’t be my first-choice commodity if I were preparing for a lockdown so I have no idea how it got to the top of the list of things to stock up on.

Still, I was excited knowing I had my normal supply at home plus a few extra rolls packed away in my camping gear.

My friends joked about how rural gals would survive whatever was coming whether we had TP or not. We shared photos of empty shelves, amused at the seemly silly reaction to what the rest of the world was dealing with.

Then, on Thursday, came an announcement the dreaded virus had arrived in Maine with a single presumptive positive test.

The next day, two more were announced.

Suddenly, the inability to purchase TP wasn’t so funny anymore. This was getting serious.

Over the weekend, the news was filled with schools closing, events canceling, businesses shutting down and communities reacting as more positive results were disclosed.

New phrases entered our vocabulary. Self-isolation. Flatten the curve. Social distancing.

I’m not even going to pretend to know what is going on. World health, even local health, has never been a beat I’ve been assigned. The charts and statistics available from trusted sources are foreign to me. I’ll leave the interpretation to those in the know and follow the recommendations given. I understand those recommendations could change from day to day, even hour to hour.

For the time being, I have been given the directive to practice social distancing; to work from home and to avoid public contact.

I don’t sit still very well at all so the next few weeks are going to be a challenge but I have a few things planned to get me through.

After a long winter of very little outside activity, I am planning daily walks. For the first time in years, I am going to plant a garden. I have a book I’ve been trying to finish for way too long … now is the time. I am going to clean out my tackle and fly box and make sure the muscles in my arm still remember how to cast.

Most of all, I am not going to confuse social distancing with social isolation. There will be phone calls to neighbors to check in on them. I imagine there will be meals dropped off and simple errands to run.

My plan is to keep my mind and my body active over the next few weeks … or longer, if that what it takes.

Is this overreaction? Last week, I would have thought so. This week, I am more concerned about my neighbors than utter boredom.

This is about doing everything in my power to ensure the preservation of my community.


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