One thing I’ve learned about travel is that it can be incredibly educational… if you actually let it.
Especially travel overseas, and travel to so-called third world countries, which taught me that we as consumers have inherited an embarrassment of riches in this country. We have literally hit the Supermarket Sweep lottery. So now due to the pandemic and a number of other factors we are experiencing here in our happy snappy consumer land-o-plenty what might be called a perfect storm of what our generation is experiencing for the first time called supply chain issues and we’re all going, hey man WTF? I mean no, yeah, I was a little miffed this week when I went to my favorite store and they were temporarily out of my favorite kind of cheaper store brand unsalted dry roasted peanuts and there was an empty space in the cooler where my favorite cheaper store brand of nonfat plain Greek yogurt usually lives and I had to settle for (heaven forbid) the cheaper store brand of whole milk plain Greek yogurt. But hey, c’mon man, we all probably need to kinda flex our perspective muscles a little bit more and, in the immortal words of Mike Judge, just “settle down Beavis.”
Unfortunately this whole supply-and-demand problem is also hitting where it REALLY matters, like in the case of a friend of ours who needs a heart valve replacement but he (and 29 others like him just at one of our local hospitals) can’t get the surgery scheduled right now because: “COVID."
I don’t think I’m the only one who didn’t have any real comprehension of the way things really work when phrases like “the global supply chain” and “so sorry for the wait, but like everybody we’re a little bit short-staffed right now” were suddenly thrust into our daily vocabularies like “the new normal,” “social distancing” and “out of an abundance of caution” were way back in those innocent, carefree days of the summer of 2020.
Here is an article that helped me, your average run-of-the-mill spoiled American middle-class consumer, gain a slightly better understanding of what I have been taking for granted on a daily basis. So maybe just read it and then try to “settle down Beavis.”
America Is Running Out of Everything
You’d probably have time to read it on your phone the next time you’re waiting in line for 45 minutes at McDonald’s or your local neighborhood coffee drive-thru window lane.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is one of my occasional "Weird Scenes Inside the Security Line" posts on the state of travel in 2021. Previous entries: Chapter 1 | Chapter 2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in a small Wisconsin blue-collar town, Mike Starling ditched the assembly line for a long, sometimes circuitous career working with words, sound and images. His original music is heard on numerous recordings and soundtracks, and his stories and photos have been featured in books, films, mags and other media. Among his other interesting career moves, he has edited a beer magazine, played bass in a reggae band and sold potato chips door-to-door. Inspired by the life-altering events of 2020, he launched a year-long web-based project called I Remember Travel in January 2021.
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I REMEMBER TRAVEL
Journeys in sight and sound by Mike Starling
All text, images and music in the I Remember Travel weblog ©Mike Starling unless otherwise noted. Music published by Bean Hoy Music (BMI). All rights reserved.