I was all set to write a piece on stoic philosophy as we head towards an uncertain autumn/winter period. Hoping to share some relevant personal experience of living with a chronic illness as a result of a serious infection. And then I revisited my online shopping basket and found that many items I had placed in my ethereal basket are no longer available. “Fack this” I thought, “who else needs Tesco Finest Naan Bread as much as I do?” Before you scoff into your quinoa that I am a closet hipster masquerading as riff-raff, I have developed a serious food intolerance and my diet is fairly restricted. This naan bread is as exciting as my side dishes go, I didn’t realise it was so popular, but it’s not exactly loo roll is it?
Our lockdown earlier this year taught me a few things about myself, even though I am used to being at home a lot I did feel an impact. I felt even more isolated that before and as someone who is mostly housebound that was a surprise, even for me.
I already used weekly online deliveries and then to my dismay I found that I was squeezed out by everyone else understandably wanting to avoid going to the shops. I didn’t get a shielding letter but decided to self-isolate. I was really struggling and was very relieved when Tesco reached out to me when I posted this tweet I’m a very private person and even my FB friends don’t know what’s going on in my life unless they speak to me. Yes I’ve had many offers from family and friends to help with shopping but I have a cognitive disorder and it can be a struggle to think what I need, plan and buy, some weeks the delivery comes and I’m like, “I ordered that? Where’s the eggs?!” But in difficult times you just don’t get what you’ve ordered, sometimes not even close. The pickers in the shops are doing their very best and I don’t envy the pressure they are under. But even they can’t put shopping in your crate if it isn’t on the actual shelves.
I think we all wanted to make sure we got what we consider to be our essentials, the things we would prefer not to have to live without. For me I thought it was coffee and dark chocolate. (HIPSTER!) To my surprise it wasn’t, it’s ginger tea. It eases the severe nausea I have on waking each morning. The headlines about how much food was wasted after the last round of panic buying were well publicised. But take a moment to think of the impact on the mental health on the elderly and those of us who are shielding and self-isolating who will worry about getting their groceries.
So my order is due for delivery in a couple of days, who knows what will arrive. My piece on stoicism will follow when my anger, worry and disillusionment have sufficiently abated. I do have faith in human nature and generally can see the good in people. Just not right now.
I suppose all of this boils down to altruism. The debate about wearing a face-covering shone a stark and unflattering light on those in society who can’t see how we are all in this together. Indeed as someone who had toilet roll stolen from an unlocked shed way back in March, I suppose I shouldn’t really be too surprised.
Lisa Wells is a disabled single parent living in a rural village in Co Down, the name of which hardly anyone can pronounce and only the residents know how to find. She has been writing a blog on life indoors for a few years.