What was the craziest thing you considered buying at the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis? For me, it was a bag of flax seeds.
Never in my life have I purchased flax seeds. But let’s back up and explore why I stood there in the seed aisle at the local supermarché, turning over a bag of flax seeds in my hands.
It was March 11. I drove to the supermarket, which I never do (usually il Bambino and I walk to get le baguette and le cold cuts) and parked in the garage. There were no spaces available, which was eerie.
Usually daytime grocery store trips are full of two groups of people: the elderly and childbearing-age adults with a passel of kids. Also, in this particular food store, housekeepers who have been sent out with strict instructions to get 0.3333 pounds of thin-sliced Honey Turkey Breast.
But on that day, the inside the store, it was a bee hive, if the bees’s brains had gotten hijacked by a zombie parasite. Lots of working-age adults steering their carts around in circles, throwing in the most random things. It was as if nobody had ever grocery-shopped before. Which, to be honest, probably a lot hadn’t.
There was nothing on the shelf. No eggs, no milk, no bread, no meat, no bottled water.
Resignedly I went to the flour aisle. I was going to have to bake bread. To my amazement, there were only a few sacks of flour left on the shelf. And only regular yeast, not the instant kind, which is annoying, although with quarantine I guess I would have plenty of time to wait around for two rises.
It was at that point that my brain started to feel a little fear. Fear of the crazy people around me, fighting over the last dented milk carton, the last leaky packet of chicken drumsticks, the last jar of reasonably-priced marinera.
That’s when I spotted a bag of flax seeds. There were, relatively speaking, lots of bags of flax seeds, left on the shelf. Somewhere in my brain I recalled reading that flax seeds are a vegan substitute for eggs. Should I buy these seeds and grind them up to make eggs?
I put the bag of flax seeds back on the shelf.
No. It’s not the other, crazy people who are going to get us. It’s us. Crazy old us.