Author: Shannon O’Connor

Usually, in all the movies and books, the post-apocalypse is followed by a journey of some kind. The world falls apart, and the characters involved have to leave their homes in order to find food or shelter, or go somewhere safer.

I work in a hospital, and one of the doctors in my department contracted the virus. I didn’t have a lot of face-to-face time with him, but I did touch things that he touched, and I had a cough, so I was sent home from work.

Today, in our virus-ridden world, we are not told to leave home. Not yet. We are told to shelter in place, which has become a cliché of sorts. But we have to be ready. So we should pack our bags, and we need to decide what to bring.

At first, I debate between my small, gray carry-on bag, and my hefty backpack that I bring when I travel. I decide on the backpack, and try to make it light as possible.

I bring one pair of yoga pants, one comfortable but sturdy shirt, which I do not love, because it has flowers and stripes, but it’s colorful, and I think we will need color where we’re going. I decide if I leave I will wear a pair of black jeans with a short-sleeve shirt and my heavy USS Constitution sweatshirt that I usually wear to bed. I pack three pair of underwear and socks. I pack one bra, and I decide to wear one when I leave.

Usually, when I travel, I overload on toiletries, because I am a girly-girl, and I must have my correct face wash, moisturizer, body wash, and lotion. But I decide in the post-virus world we are contended with, my skin cannot be as soft and clean as it usually is in the real world.

I pack two small bottles of body wash, and some travel-size shampoo and conditioner. I also put a small body powder in my bag. I add a first aid kit with Band-aids and disinfectant, ibuprofen, a water bottle, a hairbrush, my toothbrush, and some toothpaste. I place my iPad and its charger in the bag.

I cannot help but be a girl, so I put my hair spray conditioner in my backpack, which untangles my hair like nothing else. I also bring several elastics, because I know I will be tying my hair back a lot, because I will not be trying to impress anyone with my long, wavy, almost natural auburn hair.

I will wear one pair of shoes, my workout sneakers. I will pack my phone last.

My backpack isn’t particularly heavy. I want to bring jewelry and makeup, but I know that would be ridiculous. I remember I should pack sunglasses and a hat. I hope that’s everything. If it’s not, I can add more later.

I hope this virus doesn’t make us leave home. I don’t want to go anywhere like they to do in the movies, traveling around, scrounging for food and fighting for safety. I’m not a fighter, I’m an artist, and most likely I won’t survive long.

We don’t know what the future holds. But we have to be ready.