“Pssst,” beckons a man lurking beside the grocery carts as I begin my predawn assault at the local grocer. Things to note:
- I don’t normally do pre-dawn anything. Especially here in AZ where there is no Daylight Savings time and dawn blasts on the scene at an ungodly hour.
- My visit is not actually PRE-dawn, it is more like 8ish.
- I had been told there might be more stock of hard to find items if I arrived and stood in line before the stores open (not gonna happen!)
“Lady,” the shady looking man whispers, “do you need any toilet paper?” “Why no, I do not,” I reply, “Why do you ask?” “Because,” he informs me, “I know a guy who can get you some if you need it.” Afraid of the possible consequences of voicing my concerns about his plan I think to myself, “You are hustling or scalping or I don’t even know the right word TOILET PAPER in front of the grocery??” I make my escape before his “guy” shows up.
I have several thoughts about this encounter. One is that I am a single person in a family pack world. The last time I purchased TP (months ago) I wanted a 4 pack, but was forced to purchase an 8 pack. I still have a few rolls in spite of my efforts to share and not hoard this precious commodity.
Notes from a Grateful Shopper
Secondly, in spite of this strange experience, most of the folks I interact with at stores (and I try to keep them to a minimum) have been kind, warm and extremely helpful. The Deli server at the Safeway thanks me profusely for purchasing pasta salad. He is so thrilled to be working he almost brings me to tears with his gratitude.
When I enter the Dollar General, I am one of 3 customers inside. The clerk offers to personally escort me to my desired items to help me save time. She also reports, unprompted by me, on the next expected delivery of TP. When I approach the register to pay, she and another employee open BOTH registers! Wow! I only stopped here to restock on $3.50 wine. Yes, I do actually hoard this one item to some extent. But I believe we can all agree that no one wants to experience the crisis that will arise if I run out of Pink Moscato!
A million thanks to the wonderful store and take out employees that show up each day to keep me fed. You are the best! Thanks also to whoever keeps buying all the flour and sugar in every store. I think we all know that if I had access to these items I would probably be up to my chin in freshly baked cream cheese brownies and banana bread. Giving me unlimited access to sugary treats could get scary pretty quickly.
Home Schooling in My RV
The reason I arranged to stay here in Benson originally is because I need to learn a few lessons. I hoped Leyman and Jane would allow me to learn off-road driving with their Jeep group. I also had high hopes of improving my banjo skills here with the many snowbird musicians from the mid-west (“Stay at Home and social distancing restrictions have quashed that dream for now).
I will share off-roading stories in future posts. For my friends who find themselves with time on their hands and a great desire to play a musical instrument, I have some recommendations.
I began the Brainjo online banjo lessons last spring. I faithfully followed Josh’s curriculum for a year. The Brainjo lessons are designed to make learning easy by taking advantage of the way a brain works. If you are trying to learn banjo definitely START with them. I still have a ways to go, but from my efforts so far I gained enough confidence to practice with other beginners or by myself with my RV windows open. I think I have improved enough to avoid arrest for disturbing the peace.
Largely because they have nothing else to do right now, sometimes people stand outside and listen to me practice. I can hear them talking among themselves saying things like “wow, that almost sounds a little like banjo music” and “I think that might be Bluegrass music.” Sometimes when I stop playing there is even a smattering of applause barely audible above what sounds like an eruptive sigh of relief. I sincerely apologize to anyone who got the impression from listening to me practice that the song “I’ll Fly Away” has a new profanity laced verse. Sometimes I get frustrated when my fingers don’t work right and well I did live with Storm, a veritable virtuoso of cursing, a long time… sometimes those words just come out.
A Musical Challenge
While trying to learn to play “Dueling Banjos” so that I could duel with one of the Ukulele players, I stumbled across a website called tunefox. Tunefox allows a student to choose an instrument, then play any of the many songs tunefox offers at any speed by following scrolling tab or videos of other players. I start out playing very slowly until I get the fingering down, then try to speed up. There is a small monthly fee for using this site, but they are offering a free month trial right now. You should try it – then when I see you again, maybe we can Duel. Guitar, Ukulele, Harmonica, clarinet – bring it on!