Stockpile supplies or cultivate friends?

The other day, CBC ran a story:

Having these items on hand might help if you catch COVID-19 Certain medicines, foods, comfort items can make isolation and illness a little easier

and didn’t I just click right on through, because I want to be prepared, even though I’m just categorically not that person. Still, I wanted to see how far short I fall… and it was a long way.

Like, I don’t have a stockpile of gatorade, lemons, limes, decaf teas, nasal spray, cough suppressant, or apple sauce.

As I was about to get into a state, and race to the store to stockpile on COVID-iso supplies, in the event that I need to retreat, I caught myself. Hang on.

It’s good to be prepared. Yes.


I do not live on a remote island far from other humans.

I have not done a secondment to Antarctica where shipments of supplies only arrive every few months.

I LIVE IN A COMMUNITY. Of people. Who are caring.

They might not all care that much, specifically, about me. They might not care for me much at all. They might have a lot of other things going on. BUT I would put my life in their hands.

I do not yet believe that if I asked on the community facebook page if anyone was coming by my place, would mind dropping off some supplies, that it would go ignored.

We don’t live in that world. We just don’t.

This mentality of “make sure you have absolutely everything you could possibly need for every eventuality” is one approach to insulating and preparing yourself. And it’s deeply embedded in my psychology, and in the culture we live in. (Capitalism thrives on the idea that everyone needs to own their own emergency pump, emergency generator, emergency flashlight, emergency radio, emergency boat etc, because you sure do sell a lot of units that way. Capitalism doesn’t want us to share, trade, swap or mutual-aid each other. Capitalism wants you to believe that no-one has got the capacity to take a minute for you, so you better get self sufficient and fast.)

But, over the past few weeks, as Omicron has sent many of my friends into retreat, other friends responded with grocery deliveries, with soup drops, with emergency Gatorade runs.

I don’t want to go out of my way to be unprepared. I don’t want to be reckless or selfish, and add to the burden of need when it arises. But I realized, I don’t need to fortify the pantry with a bunch of things I don’t normally use and that will rot, or get staledated if Omicron passes us by this round.

I’d rather invest that time and energy in human relationships, than a pile of stuff. That is how we get through. By being there for each other.

Illustration by Erin Stead from If You Want to See a Whale. Read it here:

4 thoughts on “Stockpile supplies or cultivate friends?

  1. T says:

    You just let me know what colour and there’ll be gatorade at your door (on a healthier note I have mom-made applesauce in my freezer, and you could have some of that too).

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