Food and Drink, History, Miscellaneous

Covid-19 Update from Whiskey Rebellion Country

Well, the local distilleries are doing a booming business. Stopped out at one of my favorites the other day, and picked up a bottle of their “peated bourbon” (as good as any Islay single-malt scotch, IMHO), and had a chat with my friend Ellen, the proprietor. They’re doing great. Selling out, in fact.

I didn’t stop at my other favorite place (perhaps I’ll do that later this week). That one is run by Ed the US Marine, who’s a delightful guy. They make an excellent rye, and experiment with other spirits that take less time to develop. Don’t try the cherry cordial. Tastes like cough syrup. (It’s OK. I gave Ed the Marine my considered opinion on that, because it’s not my style to say something behind a person’s back that I wouldn’t say to his face. He says I’m not alone in that opinion. The other cordials are lovely. And the limoncello is nice.)

Meanwhile, the State Liquor Control Board plods on. Following several weeks of highly selective and frustrating “online” sales (after being closed for several more weeks before), during which I could not log into their portal even a single time, the LCB has initiated “call in and pick up” sales. So, you phone them. Tell them what you want. A person on the other end of the phone grudgingly accepts your order and tells you that he or she will “try” and have it ready after 2PM. I’ve done this once. It worked. But it’s an extremely depressing way to order up what many think of as “the water of life.”

This morning, I went grocery shopping at the Giant Eagle. I had a great time. As usual, I masked up. I get lots of compliments on my masks, as they’re quite colorful and whimsical, and reflect (to those who know) that I’m a quilter. Several folks say things like “I’m a quilter too!! That’s a [so-and-so] fabric, isn’t it?” “Yes!” I respond. We bond. And laugh.

When I shop at the grocery store, I use the “scan, pay, and go” app on my phone. Less interaction with others. I don’t have to put my stuff on the belt. I get out very quickly, no matter how many people are in the store, or how long the lines are. I like it.

Random observations from this morning:

FINALLY IN: Toilet paper. Yay!!!!!!!!! OUT:  Whole bean coffee. WTH?

FINALLY IN: My favorite “roll” butter from the Amish in Ohio. OUT: Whole milk. Maybe it’s the word “whole” in the description?

FINALLY IN:  Nail polish remover. OUT: Deli Ham. Oink.

FINALLY IN: Bleach. OUT:  Shampoo. I give up. None of this makes any sense.

But, by and large, it was OK. I thought I was getting better at mastering the difficulties presented each time and that I was starting to get ahead of things. But, no. In the manner of the best video games, the difficulty level is increasing, and the challenge at each level is being raised.

Today, it was “wrong way,” “no entry,” and “this way” decals on the floor. Apparently, we’re supposed to start out at one end of the store. form a conga line, and follow each other, conforming to the appropriate direction for each aisle as we go. I found myself often going “up” the “down” staircase. Fortunately, nobody seemed to mind, and everybody else seemed to be treating these ridiculous rules with the contempt they deserve. Doubt if it’s the same in Pittsburgh, but down here, we have better and more elemental things to worry about than whether we’re going the wrong way down a grocery store aisle, for Pete’s sake. Glory be.

The only other thing I noticed, on my brief visit to the ladies’ room is that (I swear) some demonic device has been installed on the toilet paper dispenser, to make it even more difficult than usual to dispense more than one sheet at a time. Good grief. Have people been stealing–what my mother would refer to as–the “wiping one’s nether parts on corn cobs” quality toilet paper to be found in grocery store restrooms? If so, we have sunk even lower than I would have thought possible.

Silver lining? An actual paper towel dispenser has been installed in the restroom. An alternative to those awful electric blower things which (IMHO, and “science!” notwithstanding) are a serious, germ-disseminating problem in this day and age.

So, there’s hope. I hope.


PS: Followed this up with a visit to Home Depot. There, because of restrictions on the number of people allowed in the store at a time, we had to queue. I was standing at the head of the line when the “minder” announced that two people would be allowed in. I gave my spot to the couple behind me, since it seemed rather petty to insist on going in myself, and for only one of them to be able to go in at a time. This little gesture generated much good humor, mirth, and pleasant interaction, even though not a one of us could see anyone else’s faces.

I don’t mind wearing a mask if that’s what’s required. But I’ll be damned if it will change my behavior. And I’m glad I live in a part of the country where most of the residents seem to agree with me. Don’t want to live anywhere else. Wouldn’t change it for the world.

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