Deep in a plastic bin marked “B’s Crafts,” under scraps of linen and cotton, nestled against a felt needle book, is a small jar of buttons I purchased at a flea market in Perth many years ago. “They’re all from baby clothes,” the woman with the wrinkled face and purple scarf had said. She was also selling a basket of mismatched gloves, and an assortment of broken toys. The buttons are the tiniest I’ve seen, all various pastel shades. There is a pale green one in the shape of an eye, and several white star-shaped buttons easy to imagine clinging to a tiny cardigan. I have searched the jar for signs of thread, evidence that these buttons once served a purpose.
Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be a lecture about value without function. Sheltered-in-place during the coronavirus, we are who we are these days. The girl up the street with the scooter is as friendly as ever, and the dog-hating man in the green house who once served prison time for a stash of illegal weapons should still be avoided. Here we are. Walking laps around the neighborhood like mice looking for cheese. Binging on videoconferencing like it’s fake meat.
When this started, I ordered vitamins Alicia Silverstone recommended because I love Clueless. Between hand-washings, I am chewing turmeric and elderberry. The “expertly formulated” oil of oregano needs to be diluted in water. If you apply six drops directly into your mouth, it creates a burning sensation that will cause you to rush to the sink to dry heave into your dirty dishes.
I told a friend the best thing about quarantine is women can finally cross the street to avoid oncoming creeps without offending anyone. I said this as a joke, but then I remembered the only way we could have a female president in the next several years is if a man dies.
I am finding it easy to slip into doom. A sweet story about buttons has gotten away from me.