My first week in isolation has been eerily undisturbed. The local newsnets fill with vids of people boarding up their homes and happily toddling down to their local quarantine hostel, and my CCTV screens show the odd hopeful looter making their way through the wrecked store. Here I am, all prepared for a desperate last stand, and the wailing sirens and ranged forces of law and order have failed to lay siege to me. I feel kind of snubbed.
I’ve been busy, though. We don’t have a huge warehouse built onto the store, but there’s plenty here if you know where to look: the cafe kitchens are always well-stocked, and a week’s stock for the cafe is one person’s lifetime supply (that’s my favourite joke just now – I have a lifetime’s supply of all essentials, measuring a lifetime as the time until the supply runs out). The shelves weren’t entirely picked clean before the looters were ousted, so the supply situation’s not so bad. I’ve taken as much as I can reasonably fit up to my inner sanctum, and I’ve set up a sort of maze leading casual explorers away from the kitchens, to a little stock of goodies – a decent enough haul to persuade the average looter to get gone without poking their nose further. Plus, I found some wireless home security kits in the hardware section, so I’ve set up a network of cameras and alarms that’d make Coll cream his pants.
I’ve also had a little time to sit thinking about why I did this, and I can understand why it’s hard for some of you to believe. Thing is, I don’t expect to face the consequences. I look at how this thing’s spreading round the world, with the whole of Asia and half the Middle East covered, and the newsnets talk like it’s just another flood or drought or war, but it’ll be under control before it gets to the English-speaking white folks. It’s bullshit – you know how we’ve kept it back so far? We haven’t. We’ve ignored the signs. Because to really be safe, we’d have had to stop the wheels turning, give out all the food, crash the markets. Instead we just got corporations to sponsor steri-sprays and face-masks, and those sponsors wouldn’t want the advice leaflets to say “Don’t work, don’t shop”. Now it’s too late. This is where it all comes down. Holing myself up here, it’s not really about survival, except in the short-term. If I’m going to go out coughing blood, or gasping my dehydrated last by an empty storage tank, I want to do it without fighting past hundreds of others for the privilege. Mei’s part of something bigger, but I’ve got no real reason to make it through into whatever’s left of Canberra after the quarantine. I’m here because I’m not getting herded into a make-shift prison to die at the government’s convenience. If we’re all going to hell, I’m taking my own damn handcart.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to go out any time soon. I’ve got it pretty damn sweet here, just now. I’m running two 50” homesets, drinking the most expensive wine in the store and figured I’d best use up the Deluxe range sirloin steaks with a whisky-cream and organic shallot peppercorn sauce. Tomorrow I’ll nab a fryer from the household isle and make some chips. I have a lifetime’s supply of potatoes and I should use them up before they start sprouting.