It’s a nice spring day in Berlin, and birds are singing in the trees. The streets are unusually quiet, more like on a Sunday than a Thursday. A lot of people work from home. Many nonessential shops are closed. The supermarkets look pretty normal, and not especially busy. But two curious observations indicate that not all is normal:
People buy dry pasta like crazy. Look, I like pasta too, but this is excessive. I have seen five meters of shelves picked completely clean, while at one end four shop employees are restocking as fast as they can from a big palette. I can’t remember ever having seen an empty shelf in a supermarket before. And people do the same thing to toilet paper – surely they know that this a flu, not some form of vicious diarrhea?
I have researched pandemics carefully by reviewing scientific expositions like From Dusk to Dawn, filmed by the renowned researcher Quentin Tarantino in his usual quiet and restrained style. I am convinced anyway that this is not a flu but a zombie apocalypse, based on how people respond to it. And while Americans reach for their pump guns in times of crisis, Germans buy dry pasta and toilet paper. That has got to tell us something profound; I’ll let you know when I figure out what.