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    Many Are the Ways in Which the Corona Virus Extorts Wealth Or, How Enforced Solitude Invites Materialism



    By Sigrid Weidenweber

    We all know the material costs of dealing with the epidemic—the huge supplies needed to keep people safe, hygienic, and, supplied with life-saving ventilators and drugs. Then there is the economy—it is ticking along anemically, loosing billions every week because of the shut-down. Add to that the huge amounts lost on stocks, bonds and other investments and the trillions sent by the government to ease the pain, and we could have fought a good-sized war with less expense.

    The worst of it all, however, is the time spent at home shut away from society. I spoke with friends about the problem, and they agree that time at home becomes a curse.

    Suddenly we notice that there are things missing in our homes or from our level of comfort. There are items one really needs. Now!

    For me, they are things I had noticed once or twice before and promised myself to buy, yet never did. For example, there is now a sudden strong want for another Bose radio. Shut in, I find that I carry the darn things around with me from room to room. Ergo…I must order one! It is so easy anyway—they deliver everything. None of the companies selling you things ever shut down. Amazon even found me in Zephyr Cove among the grand pine trees, bears and blue jays. Then there was an empty spot in the entry needing a mirror. Of course the item that properly fitted the space was costly, and yes, they deliver. Because its often cold here, I needed a new jacket and several new sweaters. I did not like the heavy dinner ware I found in my new abode. No problem—I ordered it. I got bored—books fly in from amazon. A table runner, assorted socks, a coffeemaker, a soda stream, a colander and other items followed in short order. Then, not to forget, I go almost daily to the post office, and Thriftway is right close to it. It follows that I must stock up on the items they did not have previously. It is there that more money leaves my purse, as I cook more than ever. As I total my expenses in the evening, I am amazed, overwhelmed, devastates. How could I? Could I, all alone by myself, have purchased all that stuff? Well, I did and I blame it squarely on the cursed virus. I did not do this kind of shopping before! In fact, I hated shopping. Now, I have discovered all these needs and must haves.

    My friends say the same. Besides shopping, they also notice the dripping faucet with annoyance, a pain their husband had promised to fix weeks ago. They see all the little jobs around the house they wanted done and, now, they insist that they be done. Ergo, the virus leads to nagging and marital problems. Suddenly friends and neighbors also need new appliances the old ones have problems. They need new flooring, the tile is so worn, they need balcony decking—the new composite material is so cool—it would freshen the look.  

    On and on it goes. With time on our hands we suddenly can concentrate on all little stuff that we graciously overlooked before, or filed away in a deep–brain-drawer as a little nuisance to be dealt with in the future.

    Well, friends, the future has arrived. You are trapped, you have time and the problems stare you in the face every day. Remember, the more money you spend the sooner the economy comes roaring back. At least that is what I tell myself, as I add up my shopping bills. Today I experienced hope at Costco. It was full, although we were ushered inside in small batches; apparently management kept count on how many bodies came and went. It seems the stimulus checks hit the town and people bought televisions and other big ticket items—even fifteen gallon Japanese trees.

    I sense the turn is coming. It is spring—and you cannot keep a good American shopper down.

     Sigrid Weidenweber grew up in communist East Berlin, escaping it using a French passport. Ms. Weidenweber holds a degree in medical technology as well as psychology and has course work in Anthropology.  She is co-founder of Aid for Afghans.  Weidenweber has traveled the world and lived with Pakistani Muslims, learning about the culture and religion. She is a published author and lecturer. You can find her books on

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