Pandemic Journal , Day 67
The US 1 roadblock in Florida City, which has been keeping out non-Keys residents since March, is coming down June 1st. Most of us in Key West are holding our breath, waiting to see what happens when the cooped-up hoards, ready to shed their inhibitions and viruses, take over Duval Street. It’s Memorial Day weekend, quiet here, but the news has been showing mask-less people swarming Boardwalks and beaches from Missouri to New Jersey. The scenes are of lots of flesh in all shapes and sizes, cavorting in close contact with almost giddy abandon. It’s troubling to say the least.
I decide to grill out, but that means going shopping. Shopping has become an act of foraging now, scrambling to finding toilet paper and hand soap (whatever you can find) and eggs and dairy with long sell-by dates. And you can’t just “pop in” to pick something up. Going to a store entails lists and gloves, masks and a game plan.
Being that it’s a holiday, I don’t want to risk the big markets up on Roosevelt Boulevard. So I decide to get on the trike and head into old town, which has been uncharacteristically quiet since the roadblock and hotel ban.
Foraging Report: 5/24/2020
Fausto’s Fine Food Palace, Fleming Street, Key West;
The first thing I noticed was the blissfully unbusy vibe. The sole register open had only one person at it which inspired enough confidence in me to grab a large cart instead of a basket.
The produce section was fairly well stocked and completely empty of customers, allowing me to spend a relaxing time browsing through the overly priced fruits and vegetables. Deli had a good selection, although items on the grocery shelves were limited and marked up. Staff was politely distanced except the guy behind the meat counter who asked if he could help me find anything. That turned into a bit of a conversation, which, even though we were both masked, I would have rather not had. Still, he directed me to some pretty great fresh salsa.
I ran into only two other customers and both were exceedingly considerate. One flattened himself against the ice cream display case as I approached, and the other backed out of the aisle when she saw me turn in. The aisles here are those of a 1950’s A&P, which made the effort all the more appreciated.
My cashier allowed me to pack my own bags, so it was almost like self-checkout (my personal preference). The total was a good $10 over what I’d spend uptown, but what do you expect from a place that charges $4.99 for a small box of Raisin Bran? The peace of mind was worth it.
I’m going to remember this lovely grocery shopping experience for a long time. Because after June 1st, foraging will be more fraught throughout the island. With this Covid thing, you never know what can happen.