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The view from here: Having enough 

Paso Robles Daily News writer Jackie Iddings

A social distancing journal

–Here we are, sliding into an oddly challenging time. The weird thing is that I cherish my solitude, but this is the first time in my 76 years that solitude has been imposed. Even after the Santa Cruz Loma Prieta earthquake shook up our lives and destroyed so much, we were still not physically isolated from one another.

Musing about getting through the aftermath of those times brought the memory of getting sick during the 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic. A few years later, another flu swept through and took the lives of a lovely older couple who ran a flower shop around the corner from my job. Their loss saddened me, but the implications still didn’t register in my 30-ish year old mind. This time they do register and I’m pissed!

I’m pissed about feeling vulnerable and I’m pissed about all the nutty hoarders who are stripping all the toilet paper off the shelves. How much toilet paper does someone really need for a handful of weeks? And what were they doing for toilet paper before now? I may never shake anyone’s hand again.

It can be important to stock up for frightening times, but stocking up is buying what you need to get through a few weeks, maybe a month. Loading your shopping cart with toilet paper then racing down the aisle to beat your neighbor to the last 50 bottles of hand sanitizer is hoarding. Hoarding is based in fear and a lack of empathy, in my opinion. Does anyone doing this realize they are leaving others without?

I popped into Grocery Outlet the other day after picking up dog food at Tractor Supply. I didn’t buy much because I didn’t want much. At the checkout, I asked, “What’s all the rush on toilet paper?”

“All the ports are closed and people think there won’t be anything coming in.”

“You mean people don’t realize that toilet paper is made in the good ole’ US of A, and that California supplies over a third of this country’s vegetables?” I asked.

“Guess not,” was the answer.

Seriously? No one knows what this country actually produces and how our supply chain gets toilet paper (or eggs or broccoli) from Point A to the grocery store? There is a learning opportunity here ladies and gentlemen, and I hope the proud citizens of this nation take advantage of the opportunity.

After unpacking my groceries I inventoried my pantry, just to see what I had on hand. Guess what? I have enough food to last me for a long time. I have enough. I have enough food. I have enough toilet paper, paper towels and more. Anything I shop for over the next couple of months are things I want, not what I need. I might be old and temporarily stuck in isolation, but I am blessed.

The Blackfoot elders I visit in the summer teach that everyone should have enough. This means that one healthy adult may have to give up a loaf of bread, or that extra package of toilet paper, so an elder, or a child, can have enough.

These times bring a new challenge. I pray I am given the wisdom to meet this challenge, not hoard, and support my family, friends and neighbors in a good way.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.