As I write this, I have an undiagnosed upper respiratory infection and the cough that goes with it. Because of COVID-19 and *waves vaguely at the world* I’ve been isolating myself for just over a week now. We’ve had our lunches delivered, being careful to not even breathe in the direction of the delivery people. No visits to the store to get groceries. We made an order for groceries on Tuesday but because of suddenly increased demand, we couldn’t get it delivered until Friday afternoon. And thus we come to the point of this post. Friends, by Friday morning our stores were running Low.
Don’t me wrong, we were nowhere near starvation and would probably have been fine through the weekend even if there was basically nothing but a light, a couple of onions and two starters (sourdough and rye). I didn’t realize just how anxious and cross that made me until I opened the fridge on Friday night and I suddenly felt like I could breathe again. Well, wheeze.
Let’s back up a bit. I was 10 when the Soviet Union fell. That led to one of the worst recessions that Finland has seen. My parents had a company that manufactured and sold computer parts. Their plants were in Russia. As it happened, their marriage was also falling apart, for mostly unrelated reasons. So at 10, I became the daughter of a newly unemployed, heavily indebted single mother. She went into the rough equivalent of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which meant that every extra mark went into paying down the debt, and by education, she was only qualified to be a secretary.
All of this meant that I spent my teens in a food-insecure household. We were never, to my knowledge, close to becoming homeless. But there were days where the only meal we had was at school. To this day, I love all forms of tacos (even the heretical ones) because that was what we had once a month on mom’s payday. Tacos are comfort food because somewhere in my psyche, tacos are a sign that there’s enough food for a while.
I was 24 when I got my first full-time well-paying job. The closest I’ve come to being out of food since then is when I’ve been too lazy to go to the store. Like I said last week, I’m approaching 40. And apparently, 15-20 years later, I still have subconscious nightmares about running out of food.
A lot of people are hurting right now and will be hurting for some time to come. A little kindness can go a long way. A government that helps its people will go a lot longer to make sure that the next generation doesn’t start to get snappish without realizing why just because the fridge is getting empty. These are small things with big repercussions. The people working the front lines all around Europe get the poorest pay. Nurses, cleaners, cashiers, shelf stockers. When this thing is over and they demand more pay, consider supporting that notion.