This article is part of an ongoing series of life in the Washington DC area during a pandemic
My birthday was today (March 26, 2020). I turned 68 on a day that because of the Covid-19 pandemic was unquestionably the darkest the word had eve seen in my lifetime. Here in our Crystal City apartment, my wife Judy and I have always been well-stocked for most emergencies. We have flashlights and candles. We have a small medical kit. We have a pantry filled with canned goods and non-perishables. We always have a case of water bottles just in case. I regularly had watched zombie movies since my teenage years for tips if any threat turned out to come from the walking dead.
But when Covid-19 came to town, we discovered one thing was lacking – a thermometer so we could take our temperatures. Actually, we hadn’t had a thermometer since our only son Michael, who is now 46, was young. We’ve been relatively healthy over the years and hadn’t needed one.
But now we thought it would be wise to have one in our medicine cabinet.
And so for four weeks, every time we shopped, we checked area drug stores and grocery store pharmacies for a thermometer. We found none. I looked online and found that all those reasonably priced were sold out. I could have spent $100 for a unit that appeared to do everything but cook your breakfast, but I didn’t want to do that.
On my birthday, we needed to go to the CVS pharmacy directly across the highway from our apartment complex. While Judy was picking up what we needed, I checked the shelves, more out of habit than hope.
In the baby section, I finally found what I had been looking for. Four thermometers were hanging there. I called Judy over and convinced her that buying one of the quartet would make my born-day special. And so we gave the clerk $20 for our new prize and even received some change back.
Now if anyone had told me on my birthday say 50 years ago when I turned 18 that when I turned 68 the item pictured below would be my most treasured birthday gift, I would have looked askance and asked
(1) What are you smoking? and
(2) Can I have some … that must be some powerful stuff right there?
But here we are … Strange days indeed