What a difference two years makes

On March 27th, 2020 I published a post about shocking prices at the gas pump…as well as on the absurdity of life. It was the beginning of a pandemic. A new virus that nobody fully understood – which would fast become a political football and plunge the United States and the world into a chaotic mess. A tumble into the Twilight Zone where toilet paper became the Item To Hoard. And the chicken that kept disappearing from the meat department at Market Basket. Empty shelves in my corner of America.

Wash Your Hands became the new mantra (although it had always been my mantra since taking biochem in college). The shock at the gas pump in March 2020 should have been a positive sign. But everything was shut down. Nowhere to go with a full tank of cheap gas…

March 27, 2020

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I returned to the same gas station…the same gas pump. It was another WTH moment. The metal signs that hung over the pumps in 2020 were gone and I suspect it was because the prices were rising so fast. Who has time to keep changing the numbers or maybe they didn’t have enough 4s. Whatever.

I just peek at the news now, in print only. Televised Breaking News is unbearable and horrific…and the horror has nothing to do with covid anymore. But somehow I didn’t expect this when I went to buy gas…prices doubled in 2 years:

March 11, 2022

The surreal is amping up again…falling into another version of the Twilight Zone. Toilet paper is stacked high in the paper goods aisle at Market Basket, costing 50% more than in March 2020. Chicken has doubled in price, but is usually in stock now. Hand sanitizer collects dust on shelf after shelf. I shop as quickly as possible. Grab, pay and go. Sale prices no longer seem relevant.

Once more, something else in life feels out of control. However, even as I continue to wonder if “normal” will ever return, I am profoundly grateful for the life I have…unprecedented high prices and all.

SixWordSaturday

Ragtag Daily Prompt: March

18 thoughts on “What a difference two years makes

  1. The world has gone truly mad. I see a president that wants to buy foreign oil and not use our own resources here at home among other lunatic things this idiot says. Then, we have the new Hitler hailing from Russia, a land of hate the whole world. How about the free world comes together to stomp out the mad man as we did in WW2? I think that we are all frustrated and demand change. Sorry… Just saying what I believe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does feel like the world has gone mad. I don’t have the answers. So many things are different, yet so many things stay the same from the days of WW2 – the evil we are seeing from Russia has always existed somewhere. It has erupted in this new war. Horrific.
      Frustrated is a perfect description of how many (me included) feel.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think weirdness might have been normal all along. This morning I was thinking about 2008 the market crashed where — as a result of forces I couldn’t predict or control — gas in CA was $5.00/gallon and I was “furloughed,” with a pay cut, and told to “Teach less” even though I had the same number of classes. There was a demonstration in New York about retaking Wall Street or something. I nearly lost my house, and when Obama took office he started the Affordable Care Program so people like me who had been consistently employed (and were still) and who had decent credit could refinance. There was crazy inflation then, too. During that time I ended up teaching 7 classes to maintain an income that would let me keep my house.

    When it was “over,” CA raised taxes on everything and everyone — including gas. It was costing me $400/month to get to school and home every day (70 mile RT on short-drive days) and I had a Ford Focus with a standard transmission! Still, taxes paid my salary so I lobbied my students hard to vote for them.

    Since then I’ve re-thought my political and social philosophy which had always been rugged-individualist, Old West, and I believe everyone should live simply like I do. No one should be absurdly wealthy. Taxes should be high, medical care should be free, there should be public transportation everywhere — especially rural areas where a high speed train could have safely gotten me to the eye doctor yesterday. People should focus on more humane values, greed and materialism should be revealed as the illusions they are. Scientific research should be promoted. I believe in a global economy and a world where everyone has a chance to live comfortably. In short, I’m a communist. Not a totalitarian form of communism (which is the only flavor of communism we’ve seen in a world) but I believe in state controlled industry. While I have a lot of problems with China and Chinese culture, they’ve definitely figured out that if most people have a job, a comfortable place to live, plenty to eat, and a good education things are going to go pretty well and a nation will prosper.

    At this point my life I think most people just want to live their lives, pursue their interests, raise their family, be able to trust the education system and the government to do their respective jobs. That so many human-driven things interfere with this blows me away and makes me sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve also been thinking about when we bought our house in 1980. Inflation was through the roof and so were mortgage rates (I think at 14%). No way we could have ever bought a house back then without a NHHFA loan for first time home buyers. We got a 30 year government financed loan at a 7-7/8% rate (5% down!). We were 2 young, early in their careers (health care and teaching) 20 somethings. Government help made all the difference. Our whole neighborhood was part of the program. Paid for by taxes. We then paid property taxes which rose every year as we added to our property. That kind of system will work! We lived simply and paid off the mortgage.
      What a mess for you in 2008. I do remember seeing a gas station with over $4/gallon prices when I was in California for a vacation in 2006. I wondered why. There is so much wealth inequality in this country, it is hard to believe it will ever change. Your thoughts: “People should focus on more humane values, greed and materialism should be revealed as the illusions they are.” sums it up perfectly. If only….

      I’ve always thought – there should never EVER be someone who goes hungry or homeless with the wealth that we have in this country.
      And your point about trust…so little trust out there. It is very, very sad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember that recession in the 80s. That’s partly how we ended up in California instead of staying in Denver. I have an assumable FHA loan on my house. I did that on purpose when I refinanced. When I shrug off this mortal coil I want a young family without much money to be able to assume what’s left on my house and live here. This is an impoverished area in Colorado (America) and housing prices have gone up and out of even my reach if I were to try to buy a house now. It’s wrong, immoral.

        And no. No one should go hungry in this country. I believe there will always be homeless people because some, like my brother, just liked it as a life”style”. But homelessness as a result of poverty? I also believe that many times it’s hopelessness that leads to drug addiction. Not always, but enough to be a major factor. I don’t understand us at all. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. An assumable FHA loan – what a great idea. I was not aware such a thing was available. I’m so glad those kinds of loans are still out there. Housing is such a far off dream for so many. It’s not right.
        Hopelessness underlies so much suffering – whether it be drug addiction, homelessness or poverty. The cycles just persist.I don’t understand it either.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I built my family a house in 1981 and even with my connections at the bank, the best I could muster was 14 percent interest. Thank you, Reverend Carter. I keep preaching this mantra but no one listens; time for the torches and pitchforks, folks. It worked well against Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, so I feel it would work well against our own Dr. Frankenstein and his monster..Pelosi. Texas isn’t hit as hard as many states, but the time has come for an uprising. Strange, no mentions of the freedom convoy to Washington? We are living in the Twilight Zone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were so grateful for the low income government loan program in 1980 when we bought our house. It was a tough time with inflation so high. I hope the current situation improves for everyone sooner than later. Peacefully. We’ve all been through a lot these past 2 years.

      Like

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