It has finally come. After years of watching action and thriller movies that depicted some contagious disease that the CDC can't wrap its collective minds around or some random strain that turns humans in to mindless zombies, IT HAS HAPPENED. We are in the midst of a pandemic. There is a virus that is threatening the lives of people around the whole world! I am one of the lucky ones. I have prepared for this. In the case of a zombie apocalypse, I learned how to survive on the move and how to drive a stick shift in the case that it is the only vehicle available for a quick getaway. In the case of a quickly spreading virus, I have considered different ways to acquire the essential items like food, shelter as wells as ways to protect my family. Okay, if I am being totally honest most of my apocalyptic prep has come from watching too many movies. When it boils down to it, what you need to do to prepare for an apocalypse surrounds toilet paper, trusting no one, and avoiding Florida like the plague because it will give you the plague. The reality of a pandemic is not what I thought. Sure, the CDC, like in the movies, releases a bunch of information as they learn new information or to just say they have no information, the president speaks and people lose their minds a bit as the fear of the unknown creeps up behind them, taking hold and refusing to let go. But in the movies, I never and I mean I NEVER saw people go crazy over TOILET PAPER. Yes, you heard me right, toilet paper. As a woman, my biggest fear in the early stages of the pandemic went from how to stay safe from the virus to how I was going to wipe after using the bathroom as I watched my last roll of toilet paper dwindle down. This scenario was not a part of my survival strategy but alas there I was going to every store I could think of to find the rare item. Eventually, like any pandemic survivor would do, I adjusted. I got in good with some of the employees at the store, showed up on delivery day at opening time and the treasure was mine!!!!! With the precious nine pack of ultra‐soft toilet paper you'd think I was in the clear right? Wrong! There is more. You cannot trust anyone. This is a hard one for extroverted people and huggers like myself. During this pandemic, many people lost their jobs, others were fortunate enough to be able to work from home and the rest of us who are considered “essential workers” must brave the world avoiding as much contact with people as possible. With the exception of healthcare workers who must be close to people in order to, you know, save their lives, we must not trust anyone. If someone clears their throat or coughs, assume the worst, get out of there or at least create distance between yourself and the suspect. More importantly, if someone is coughing, sneezing or has other cold or flu like symptoms and they excuse it away by saying “it's just my allergies”. DO NOT BELIEVE them. Those same people usually say that during cold/flu season, next thing you know, you are using your sick days. If you don't believe it during cold/flu season, don't buy that crap during a pandemic! One of the most important survival tips I think I learned during this time is to avoid my home state. I am from Florida. I love it for its beauty, greenery, beaches and southern hospitality meets big city party vibe. Even with the greatness that Florida brings, Floridians are NOT missing their summer. People have consistently flocked to beaches and other popular areas in their respective cities to drink, swim and or party. The virus cases there have sky‐rocked. Luckily, I am working away from home right now, so I am just watching my beautiful state get infected one person at a time and listening to the wild tells from friends and family from afar. If you go to Florida, the second tip of trust no one will be almost impossible to follow. Fun events, sunshine and the beach will yell at you to come and play until you do. If you are already in Florida, do your best. If you are not in Florida, STAY AWAY! Well, at least until the pandemic is over, then definitely go to Florida. Though this is not a survival item technically, I do have a bonus tip that I think has greatly helped my survival. This is something that even my movies forget to show while the characters are making their way through survival. Go to the liquor store and get yourself your favorite wine, beer or spirits because frankly, the coronavirus, COVID‐19, Rona or whatever you want to call this thing sucks and at the end of your day when you are done with your essential worker duties, during another video conference call or worrying about a friend or family member who has caught the virus, you are going to want a drink.
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