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Red Napkins 2




Red Napkins


While looking for tissues at an online supermarket, I come across my favourite red napkins. Two packs into the basket, I continue my virtual shopping. Going over the list, adding, deleting stuff, I complete the task and pay by card. My provisions for the lockdown replenished, the delivery due the following day, I resume my daily chores. Red napkins on my mind.

Why did I buy them? It’s not likely I’ll be inviting people to dinner in the near future. I like the colour, haven’t seen them on the shelves in the days I could visit the supermarket, and I can use them myself. Good excuses, but the cupboard is full of paper napkins in all the colours of the rainbow. Why not use them instead? Red napkins are prettier.

I’m not a panic shopper. I don’t stock things and have little room to store them. Yet, the question of what if  lingers at the back of my mind. Instead of buying one packet of hair dye, I buy two, an extra pack of cheese or two more cans of tuna fish. What if they run out of stock? It’s helping the economy, but depleting my budget.

Behind this hoarding tendency, lingers the anxiety of holding onto a lifestyle which may no longer exist. A variety of choices, favourites, brands that dominate our daily lives. Despite knowing this is not a matter of life and death, that the groceries or dry goods at home might last me at least three months, I worry about running out of stuff  I’m accustomed to buying. I won’t die of starvation, but my choices in the future might be limited.

The supermarket delivery arrives. I look at the red napkins and laugh at myself. I make a pledge not to buy any more until I use the ones at home. It dawns on me Mother Earth is suffering due to the mass manufacturing of this diverse merchandise and choices in the market, whether it’s  food, household items and chemicals, not forgetting clothes and accessories. Buy less, waste less, be inventive and creative. The lack of choices is not a death threat, but the virus is. I’m learning …