How much toilet paper do I actually use? Is there some sort of formula - rolls per person per day? - that I could use to work it out when preparing for what is, by the look of the supermarket shelves, the end of the world?
You can get by on a limited supply of the stuff. Ask anyone who's been on a hiking trip of more than a few days in an area without a toilet. There you have to play an even trickier game: how much to bring without adding unnecessary weight? Will half a roll be enough? (Yes. If you're careful, it usually is.)
But hiking trips and working from home while self-isolating don't really compare. One involves getting up at the crack of dawn, pursuing a fairly repetitive task all day with a focused mind and then flopping back to bed. Although I guess there are similarities.
I've never given a great deal of thought to my toilet paper consumption. Bog rolls are bought as needed, readily available staples.
But I have had plenty of time to think about all this while I have been at home, minding my own business as the World Health Organisation declares a global COVID-19 pandemic.
I'm young and I'm healthy and more likely than not, my experience of the virus would be mild, something of the bad cold type.
But it's not about me.
End-of-the-world parties, booze-fuelled romps for the young, are already said to be contributing to an increased risk of spreading the virus, while I've seen enough people my age stopped on the street for television cameras saying "if I get it, I get it. It won't be that bad".
My partner and I have delayed rushing to Melbourne to see unwell family because they are not able to say "if I get it, I get it. It won't be that bad". For them - at high risk - it could easily be fatal, and how could you live with yourself if you were the one who brought it down the Hume Highway?
We don't have any symptoms - other than early warning signs for cabin fever - and we haven't been in contact with any known cases nor undertaken any high-risk travel.
Meanwhile, newspapers in Italy have run pages and pages of death notices in recent weeks as people have succumbed to COVID-19 complications.
Any risk of contributing a loved one's name to such a list in Australia is not worth taking. It's better to stay home taking stock of the bog rolls.
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