Losing My Marbles in the Pandemic

| 03 Mar 2021 | 12:21

It was yesterday (I think) that I realized I’m full-bore Pandemic Nuts now.

It wasn’t a breakdown or a crying jag. I didn’t run down the street naked (I don’t think). I didn’t stab myself in the neck. None of the clear signs of Pandemic Nuts.

Instead, I caught myself doing online comparison shopping of paper napkins.

There’s a great deal to choose from, I found. For example, pre-folded or flat? Of course this begs the question of whether I’m actually willing to manually fold two napkins when I set the table for my husband and me. That’s a lot to ask although it would kill a little time and maybe help put me on the road to recovery.

But then there’s the three-ply or two-ply issue. Very important, which I learned the hard way during the toilet paper crisis when the only ply available was one-ply. I confess I hoarded them, which I greatly regret because I still have enough one-ply toilet paper to last until August.

Dinner size or everyday size? Dinner is 15”x17” unfolded. Everyday is 13x12.7” and is, for some reason, advertised as “perfect for awkward meals.” I don’t know what that means. Are these the napkins you want on hand the first time your daughter’s boyfriend comes for dinner?

Color and pattern. White with gold trim? Embossed with leaves or flowers? Then of course there’s the cost comparison. But really, how much can cost figure into this when all I do is stay home and eat? The sky’s the limit under the circumstances.

When I realized, though, that I’d killed a half hour on the napkin question - I had even taken the tape measure out to get a sense of optimum size next to our dinner plates - I thought perhaps I should worry about myself.

So I called my friend Lisa, which always cheers me up because she was crazy even during The Before Times. I figured my state of Pandemic Nuts would be mild compared to hers.

And I was right!

“Listen, I’m glad you called,” she said. “I’m trying to decide how to arrange the undershirts in my husband’s underwear drawer. What do you think? Rolled or folded?”

I worked with her on that for a while and guided her toward deciding whether this was a space issue or merely aesthetic because measuring might be involved if space was at the root of it. But my brain kept wandering back to the napkins. What if I got flat dinner size (three-ply) and ROLLED them instead of folding?

I know Lisa and I can’t be the only ones who’ve gone Pandemic Nuts. In fact, you probably have, too. Some signs to look for:

- You can’t sleep because the song “Louie Louie” keeps playing in your head and you STILL don’t know the words except for the “Louie Louie” part.

- You’ve arranged your pantry in alphabetical order.

- Your partner has gotten a restraining order against you.

If you have gone nuts, let us know! Tell us what clued you in to your altered state. What weird things are you doing these days that you didn’t do in The Before Times? Let’s share our neuroses! After all, we’re in this together. We’re New York Tough and New York Nuts.

Please include your name, neighborhood and the details of your decline and email me at huckleberryquinn3@gmail.com.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to conduct an experiment involving yeast and hydrogen peroxide and linguine. I’ll let you know how it goes.