TOILET PAPER IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
Mendy Horowitz was having a tough day. He was in quarantine and it was the second week of not being able to get to his workshop and build custom tables. He had established a very good business with the top interior designers in Toronto. He was gaining a tremendously good reputation as the go to guy for creating custom dining room tables and chairs for wealthy clientele. In fact his back orders were numerous and waiting and Mendy wanted to fill them. He had set up a mini-workshop in his garage, but he had used up all his Maple and Oak and until the lumber yards were working again, he was out of material. This led to tremendous frustration.
The only thing that kept Mendy sane was his best friend and quarantine partner Mindy. They had met on JDate and after the first date they knew it would be M&M forever. They had a wonderful dog named Boozer and life was moving along nicely until Covid-19 reared its ugly head and started killing people.
Mindy approached Mendy while he was doing a make work project, cleaning out the freezer to see what kind of food they had buried deep inside. ‘’I’m a little worried, I’ve been reading articles about people hoarding toilet paper and I know we’ve only got six more rolls, what if we run out?’’
The truth was Mendy didn’t really want to go out looking for it, but he had to do what he had to do. ‘’Do we need any other groceries?’’ Mindy disappeared for a few minutes and returned to the basement where the freezer was located.
She presented Mendy a list with about twelve items located on it, and he reluctantly put food back in the freezer, closed it and kissed her.
‘’I’m going to try and do this as quickly as I can’’ Mendy gave Boozer a hug and left the house with a sense of fear and trepidation. The news had been non-stop about the spread of the Corona Virus and things seemed to be getting worse instead of better.
As he pulled up to the first and closest supermarket to his house, he was amazed at the way people were spaced out. He felt a sense of relief. It looked liked they were taking precautions to stop the spread of the virus. He stood in the line for twenty minutes and finally was given the green light to go inside.
Once inside he dashed around grabbing items off the list, including dog food for Boozer but much to his chagrin there was no Toilet paper.
He stayed in the areas marked for people to wait for the their turn at the cashier and then made it in front of the plexiglass barrier. His bill came to twenty seven dollars and fifty cents. He used his debit card, bagged and grabbed his groceries and headed back to the car.
He checked the list and realized he needed to get some of the basic items and headed to another supermarket.
The line was longer but Mendy was okay with it. The guy behind him tried to engage him in conversation but Mendy ignored him. It was ten minutes and he was in the store. He ran to the shelves carrying toilet paper and there was a sign that read ‘’One package of toilet paper per customer’’ which would have been fine if there would have been any. Mendy grabbed two more items off his list and went to line up to pay for his items.
A heavy set guy came over and started saying he was in a huge rush and only had two items and wondered if he could go in front of Mendy. He stood about a half a foot from his face and this really aggravated Mendy.
‘’Uh, Dude, Firstly personal spacing, second I only have two items, so what’s the difference, I won’t be long.’’ The guy gave Mendy a dirty look and headed back to the line. Mendy realized why the guy wanted to go in front of him, the line was now quite considerable.
When he paid and left, Mendy was feeling uptight. He thought about passing on getting toilet paper and heading home, so he called Mindy. When he told her there was no toilet paper she asked if he could please try and find some, because she was concerned there was going to be a lock down and they would be in serious trouble. When Mendy suggested they could use J Cloths or Napkins, her response was a vehement not happening.
The next drive was to Costco but the line was winding around and Mendy did not feel like standing for another hour, so he took off and headed to a supermarket that was known for being a bit more expensive.
Getting into the supermarket required tremendous patience as they had a line that didn’t move. Instead of waiting for one person to leave and letting one person in, they’d wait till five people left and then let five people in.
When Mendy finally joined the group going in, he immediately headed to the paper area and was willing to pay whatever it cost for toilet paper. There was a woman in front of him who grabbed the last two packages of twelve rolls. ‘’Um, excuse me but I think there’s a limit of one package per customer and I really need to get some toilet paper, so could I please have one of those sleeves.’’
The woman looked Mendy up and down and started laughing. ‘’Go piss off, I am getting this toilet paper, you think I’m going to run out because I’m nice. No way. If you’re slow you lose and you were slow.’’
Before Mendy could say anything in response a guy pushing a shopping cart joined them. ‘’I got two cases of water, one for my cart, one for your cart.’’ She laughed, ‘’Excellent, I’ve got two packages of toilet paper, one for my cart, one for yours. Can you believe this guy wanted me to give him one of my packages?’
They both looked at Mendy and started laughing, not the nicest people. Mendy was starting to fill mentally and physically ill. Three supermarkets and no toilet paper. Plus he had just encountered two maroons who were not nice and he had been way to close to them.
He left the store feeling very dejected and didn’t have the drive to go to any more supermarkets, but he also couldn’t handle the disappointment that Mindy would experience when he came home with all the groceries except the one she wanted the most.
As Mendy headed for his house he didn’t know what he was going to do. He was almost in his driveway when he saw his neighbour Eddie, standing on his lawn looking around. He pulled over to the curb, a safe distance away.
‘Hey, Eddie, how have you been, I haven’t seen you for a while.’’ Eddie smiled. ‘’I just returned from Florida, I was there for three months, so I’ve been in self isolation for the last fourteen days, today’s the first day I could catch some fresh air and walk around without worrying about contaminating the universe. How are you doing, I bet it’s tough without your Mom.’’
Mendy’s Mother who was the Matriarch of the family had passed a couple of years earlier but he missed her everyday. ‘’I miss her and she’d be baffled about the way people act. I can’t find toilet paper anywhere and with this Covid-19 plague people seemed to have become hoarders and it seems to be getting worse. I was at three grocery stores today and not one roll. Some people are completely ignorant. It’s tough Eddie, but we’ll get through it.’’
Eddie just nodded his head.’’It’s funny, some people step up when things hit the crapper and other people are just shits. It’s just the way of life. Go home and relax now. Send my best to Mindy.’’
After waving goodbye, Mendy went home and told Mindy the news. She took it as well as could have been expected. She looked at him and gave a half smile ‘’I guess if we need to use J Cloths and Napkins, we will.’’
That night Mendy went to his garage and tried to build something. He needed to do something to release his frustration. He couldn’t believe how toilet paper had become a prized possession. He ended up creating a corner table for a lamp. It wasn’t overly impressive but it let him use his hands and do something productive.
Before going to sleep, Mendy felt a tear fall down his face. It was all crazy, his business was stuck in neutral and who knew if it would ever come back. There were bills coming in on a steady basis, and Covid-19 had stopped him from being able to socialize and see his family in person. Worst of all he had let Mindy down, there was no toilet paper and he had really tried. He had gone to three stores and put himself in a position where he was potentially exposed to the Corona virus. Mendy couldn’t remember when he felt so low. He needed a lift.
The next day, Boozer hopped on to Mendy and Mindy’s bed full of energy and wanting to go for a much needed walk. Mendy thought maybe the endorphins that were the result of a good walk would kick in and he slowly got dressed and grabbed Boozer’s leash and headed out. It was still dark out and the sun was just starting to shine. As he opened the door he almost tripped over a box on his stoop. It was wrapped up tightly.
He took it inside and informed Boozer he’d have to wait a couple of minutes while he opened it up. Inside there were fourteen rolls of toilet paper and a note. ‘’We usually take sixty rolls to the cottage, but that’s still three months away, and who knows how long we’re all gonna have to sit on out butts. So I thought I’d share the goods. Keep your ass clean. All the Best Eddie’’
The tears inexplicably rolled down Mendy’s face again. There were some good people in the universe and some knew how much toilet paper meant to people. It was reassuring to know that if a person had to be stuck in a quarantine, there were others who commiserated and understood.
Mendy quickly wrote a note and took some tape as he and Boozer headed off. When Eddie woke up and saw the note Mendy hoped he would get a chuckle. It read ‘’In uncertain times, it’s good to have certain friends, I will never forget your act of generosity and kindness and someday I hope that I can repay it back in some small way. Lots of Respect and Friendship Forever, Mendy. Ps, I promise every time I wipe my butt I’ll be thinking of you.
As he set off on his walk, Mendy felt a lot better, he had been given a lift, and it had come in the form of fourteen rolls of toilet paper, who would have believed it.