by P. T. L. Perrin

…it immediately created a toilet paper shortage. No restrictions had yet been put into place the day I went shopping at Walmart. As always, the items I needed were available. I loaded my cart and headed for the paper aisle. Wait! What the heck happened? A single pack of toilet paper sat on the otherwise empty shelves, left there, most likely, because of a tear in the packaging. I grabbed it. The paper wouldn’t spoil because the package was ripped.

Two women, one elderly and one a younger version of her, stopped in shock, just like I did. I couldn’t help myself. Tears filled the older woman’s eyes, and I had to do something. I handed her daughter the pack, fully expecting to find one somewhere else. Besides, we were okay for a while. How could Walmart, of all places, be out of TOILET PAPER? And why THAT item and no others?

In the coming weeks, when nary a roll was to be found anywhere, I fantasized about the hoarders having to eat it. Roasted TP. Grilled TP. TP Soup. TP pie. I hoped they choked; until I realized that some of them might be families with kids, and they’d be up the creek without a paddle if they hadn’t bought it all up that first week. I began to wish them well and decided to order some online. The next available delivery date was sometime in June, in two months, but it wasn’t guaranteed. A friend suggested I search Amazon for a bidet.

Having lived in Italy in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, I was familiar with bidets, simple low basins separate from the toilet with shower nozzles that sprayed upward. Back then, they were a place to float toy boats, complete with a fountain in the middle. I did not know their true purpose until I was much older and no longer living there. We had plenty of toilet paper back then.

The bidets I found online ranged from a hand-held sprayer, which can double as a cloth diaper cleaner (for those with babies who still use cloth diapers), to a seat attachment that requires no aiming. It appears that the sprayer might take some practice in order to avoid a wet bathroom. But then, if you turn on the no-aiming-required spray without your rear end covering the inside opening of the toilet seat, you could give your ceiling a wash. At least you could with the Italian ones. Amazingly, the guaranteed delivery date was in three days. I clicked the button, quite satisfied with myself.

Neighbors drive to a local farm, where a box of fresh veggies is placed in their trunk, and they drop some off at our front porch. Other neighbors are busy sewing facemasks for a local nursing home. I gave them some colorful fabric and a treasure trove of elastic left over from my long-ago sewing days. Kids ride their bikes in the quiet streets, six feet apart from each other most of the time. Couples walk holding hands (come on…they live together!) and greet other walkers, keeping their distance and using their ‘outside’ voices. Everyone asks everyone else, “How are you doing? Need anything?”

The air smells fresher, the office is gradually getting cleaned out, and my tennis-pro husband burns off energy doing yard work and cutting the hedge shorter and shorter. By the time this is over, it’ll be six inches tall. We’re finally using up the canned goods in the pantry, at least those whose expiration dates are newer than July 2015.

The worst part of this for most people is the loss of jobs and income, although we’re all hoping it’s temporary. We hope to scrounge enough to pay the mortgage for the next couple months, until the tennis courts open and people take lessons again. Younger people with families at home are worried, including our children with their families. Some can work from home, others cannot.

The systems that should facilitate what the government has done to ease the burden are broken and scrambling to find fixes. When this happens again, hopefully in the far distant future, they should be prepared, and the process should run smoother. The same goes for medical supplies and personal protection equipment. There were no stockpiles when this virus shut us down. After this, there will be.

We pray for the sick, that they will recover, and for those who’ve lost loved ones. We pray for those who are feeling the pain of lost income, especially those with young children. We pray for the teachers who have poured themselves into making lessons their students can do from home, and we pray for the parents of those students. We pray for the homeless and the prisoners who have little choice in anything. We pray for Bill’s mom in a nursing home, and for all those who live and work there. We pray for doctors, nurses, hospital staff, first responders…everyone helping others though this.

We were both sick in January, and so were some of our kids and grandkids. Could it have been this virus, this invisible scourge, that made us miserable for a while and then left us to recover? Perhaps. Perhaps many people have had it unknowingly and are now immune, with antibodies that can help someone who is seriously ill to recover. In time, we may all be tested, and then we’ll know for sure.

For now, we practice social distancing. We stay home and catch up on things we’d been meaning to do for the last twenty years, and thank the good Lord we have a home to shelter in. We follow the rules, not to protect ourselves, but to protect the people around us, known and not known, just in case. We are witnessing the spirit of the people who live here, who, when faced with calamity, reach out and help their neighbors. We have never been prouder to be Americans than we are right now.

The bidet arrived right on time. It looks nice in its box, which will remain closed until we run out of toilet paper, an unlikely issue with our kids and neighbors watching out for us. Neighbors, if you run out, we have some to share. I want to try that bidet.

Now about those toilet paper hoarders…


“Thanks for supporting me!”

P. T. L. Perrin


Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment below and on the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour   page!  Thank you and good luck!  


Add yours →

  1. Funny because I thought the same about the TP hoarders until I heard why it is happening…With everyone home, no one is using work and school toilets with those giant rolls of TP. Everyone is home and that little roll is only about a days-worth for a family! Thanks for sharing your views.


  2. A funny piece,. I happen to like bidets. It is probably the cleanest and most hygienic form rather than toilet paper. 🙂
    Enjoy your day.


  3. peggyhattendorfcom May 12, 2020 — 12:55 am

    Patty, I’m sure your post rings true for many people today. This quirky existence we are all living right now is more bazaar than many science fiction reads. Who would have thought – toilet paper, paper towels and Kleenex/tissues – would become almost priceless commodities?
    Thanks, Nonnie and RWISA.


  4. Shirley Harris-Slaughter May 11, 2020 — 11:44 pm

    Hi P.T.L. I too stopped in the grocery and ran across 1 pack of toilet paper. We grabbed it but then put it back when we came across a bulk pack, so took that one instead. Its funny how something so taken for granted now becomes so important to our lives. Bidets are not so common where I’m from or I would’ve had one. I suppose it would cut down on toilet paper usage. Lol


  5. You have always had such a big heart, Patty! It’s beautiful when people look out for one another. 🙂


    • Thanks, Yvette! That’s so sweet of you to say! Adversity can bring out the best in people, and it makes me proud to know so many good ones. Happy Mother’s Day! ❤


  6. D.L. Finn, Author May 10, 2020 — 3:58 pm

    This piece made me smile, Patty:) My husband had become our TP hunter and we have not gone without.


  7. Hi Patty, We are living in parallel. I have a “Washlet” sitting in the garage waiting for my son to install when social distancing is less restrictive, and I know as well as I can without antibody testing that I and several of my friends had something for 8 weeks early in the year that was this virus. One of us went to the emergency room three times. They couldn’t figure out what she had. All they could do was give her steroid inhalers. I wish we could be tested because our plasma could help someone else who is sick. Enjoyed your humor!


    • Thank you, Mary! Your ‘washlet’ and my bidet are probably growing roots while we wait. I know what you mean about wanting to help others if we’ve had the virus. Maybe they’ll get around to testing us some day soon.


  8. Hi, Patty. Your post describes our situation perfectly. It makes me happy to read that neighbors are helping neighbors, maybe even getting to know each other for the first time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


    • Thank you, Jan! There’s nothing like a crisis to motivate neighborliness in people. I’ve met some who live nearby for the first time, and we’ve been here for 20 years! There is good to be found in everything.


  9. Your post eloquently sums up the current situation, both the good and the bad. Meanwhile, I have this image of toilet paper soup simmering on the stove. . ..


  10. Great post Patty – thanks for sharing your experiences. Stay safe.


  11. Patty, this piece was hilarious! My husband and I have been to Europe a few times over the last 5 years, and I never worked up the courage to try a bidet! I guess I hope you never have to use yours.


    • My husband is skeptical about how efficient it might be and expresses his fears of soaked walls and ceilings. LOL. It may grow roots in its box at this rate. Thank you for your kind comments.


  12. Yes, Patty, those hoarders! I saw one of them selling a pack of paper towels for $372.00 on Amazon. Could you believe that? But the very next day it was gone. Amazon shut it down.


    • Sometimes Amazon does the right thing! But then, with the unemployment situation what it is, I can imagine what would drive someone to buy very low and sell very high. They’ll have to rethink their methods. Thanks!


  13. Enjoyed your post, Patty, and could relate to the TP part! How crazy is that? And all the rest – yes, we have much to be grateful for! Thanks for the reminder!


  14. I liked your resilence in coming up with a Plan B!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being an Army brat teaches one to be resilient. Being a mom reinforces every bit of ingenuity we have, which prepares us for situations like these. Thanks, Wendy!


  15. NO TP… Talk about culture shock! I loved your post, Patty! The PT, the bide, t and especially the wonderful people who continue to reach out to neighbors, family, and even strangers in these perilous times. Hope is alive and well!

    Liked by 1 person

We love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: