A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column for this newspaper about how I’ve gone Pandemic Nuts. My evidence was catching myself online comparison shopping for paper napkins. (There were other moments of concern, too, but I didn’t want to overshare and risk some emergency vehicle pulling into the driveway to take me away.)
Anyway, since no one wants to be alone in their bonkerhood, I invited readers to send us evidence of their own decline into an alternate universe. The following is a sampling of email we received from self-proclaimed local nuts who confess they’ve gone down the rabbit hole.
Thank you to all who sent in testimony of your various issues. Maybe we can get a group rate with a therapist. – Beth Quinn
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I knew I’d gone Pandemic Nuts when I found a pair of my husband’s underwear in the laundry basket and began interrogating him like a CSI agent.
Underwear is optional for 99 percent of our lives now, so I had a severe case of suspicion when I found he’d worn some. I needed to know exactly where he went that warranted wearing underwear!
Anonymous (or my husband will shoot me)
Several readers said they knew their brains were shot when they found themselves cleaning and cleaning and then re-cleaning stuff that wasn’t dirty in the first place.
Typical Day 1 or 100, take your pick. Clean, straighten, and get rid of stuff no longer used in overburdened kitchen drawers. What? No crumbs, debris, dust bunnies or extra junk present. Must have done this already?
Cabinets. Line up the cans, alphabetized, face forward. Uh, done already. Re-arrange linen closet by color, size, type of sheets, towels. Put medical supplies, cleaners in bins by size, item and use. Again, done already.
Unfold sheets, check condition (ripped, fabric nubs, stained). Cut offenders into rags, king sized ones into extra tablecloths. Search Orange County for the right color Rit dye to camouflage the stains. Mask up, get in car and travel 40 minutes each way to get the couple of springtime/summertime colors available at Joanne fabric.
Tomorrow is another day. Clean kitchen drawers, maybe. Uh, done already.
Then there are the shopping sprees for stuff we entirely don’t need. (PS – I bought an avocado peeler yesterday on Amazon. I didn’t even know there was such a thing until I started pandemic shopping. – Beth).
Hey Beth. I was so happy to see that it wasn’t just me that was crazy! My therapist needed to get help just listening to me! So it starts with my man and me getting home from work. We make some coffee then sit on the couch shopping. He looks for car parts; me, everything, then – oops! – something shiny! Gotta buy it, like – oh! we totally need a new bed frame!
Then – wow! – look at those curtains in the picture! We need those, too. But look at the color paint in that wall. What do you think it is? I ask Dale. To which he replies, does it match the color on this car bumper? I said I don’t care about bumpers; I’m talking paint.
Then, holy crap, look at that plant in the picture! We need more plants in here! Do we go flowers or no flowers? He says flowers? On a bumper? Aye yi yi, aren’t you even listening to me??? He says he needs the bumper for the 450 HP 3 mag blah blah blah and you want me to put flowers on it? I roll my eyes.
What if I match the paint to the plants? Or the beautiful color of the flower? That’s it! Wallpaper! Do you know how to hang wallpaper?
With that he turns the tv on muttering to himself while I continue looking for another dog. Hey, there was one in the picture! Come on!
And if you can’t buy it, make it. Make a lot! Way more than you need!
I feverishly sewed a bunch of masks back in late March last year when they were largely unavailable. I used old fabrics and shoelaces and baggie twist ties and whatever I had in the house because it was too dangerous to shop.
I sensed I’d crossed the border into Nutso Land when I caught myself making four little masks for a friend’s toddler’s stuffed animals. Stop, I told myself. Just stop.
We’ve always had survivalists in our midst, but the pandemic has placed a new level of crazy on the concept of Be Prepared. We’re all Boy and Girl Scouts now.
I told the checkout person at Home Depot, that I looked everywhere for the yellow rubber gloves I’ve used for decades to wash my dishes. I said, “I’ve got all kinds of nitrile gloves, but I can’t find the yellow latex ones for housework.”
She said, “Oh, we sold some yesterday.”
“Really? There aren’t any today,” I said. “I think people are preparing.”
“Yes,” she said. “People are getting ready.”
“Yeah, but for what?” I asked.
Batteries, check; flashlight, check; waterproof matches, check. I throw in a change of clothes, extra socks, underwear, shoes, water purification tablets and a metal straw. From Amazon, I order a solar powered, wind up radio/ flashlight that can charge my cell phone; the only thing it doesn’t do is brush my teeth.
My emergency bag is good to go. I’m prepared.
But for what? I’ve lost track of crises.
On the other hand, I found the yellow gloves at Target. At least there’s that.
If all else fails, there’s always booze and ... wildlife.
Each day at about 5, we have our Happy Hour. Before the pandemic, our Happy Hour could be at a bar, restaurant or with friends. Our COVID hour is quite different.
Now we wait for our local deer to show up behind our house, always at 5. That is our signal for Jeff to open his beer and me to pour my wine. We then toast to our new-found friends, who politely socially distance from us.
Michele and Jeff Exter