When COVID first hit, I hit the road and went to stay with my parents. This was meant to be a few days that slowly turned into a few months, a long distance relationship with my husband and an insidious and somewhat food-based addiction to subscription boxes.
Spoiler Alert: I’m still subscribing, not saving and very much fraught with the afterglow of my (albeit chosen) displacement, remote (may we never return) learning and reminiscing why after signing up for a boxed fruit of the month club I was literally holding a $35 pineapple in my hands along with the sinking feeling I was locked into a one year contract.
My father sprayed the mail down (including my nonrefundable pineapple) with Clorox. In the mornings, I came to expect the luxury of a freshly lit wood stove. I’m feeling a little nostalgic for it actually, thinking how we all sat around it, watching the news, like the world was ending because it was, as we unpacked our Misfits Market box, truly the Jem and Holograms of discarded produce.
All things told, untold, unopened or doused in disinfectant, good subscriptions came in small and big packages as did the bad, ugly and overpriced tropicals. It was all very nondiscriminating, left to chance and damp with bleach along with the vague memory of ordering something, usually late at night, from the comfort and coercion of my own phone. Yes, I was very much complicit in my own charge-happiness.
People apparently saved a lot of money during this time. I can’t speak for myself or my Visa card but I did manage to talk myself out of Stitch Fix on more than one occasion, opting instead for a pair of stretched out sweatpants and oversized Vineyard Vines sweatshirt, both maternity leftovers that never quite lost their shape. Every day I wore them made me feel about as good as that pink whale washed up on a beach somewhere. But that’s a story for another time, I guess, like all those Literati boxes I learned quickly were for kids who actually preferred reading over watching TikTok(s) of talking dogs and trendy divas doing (everything short of a pole) dances not suitable for school children … definitely not your mama’s Dirty Dancing.
But nothing compared to Kiwi Crates, which should come with some sort of warning label, like, “not for the faint of heart” or “instructionally challenged.” Crafty people, sending boxes of parental torture disguised as art. I still have flashbacks to those paper lanterns my mother finally ended up assembling months later because, um, I’ve spent enough time in therapy, it hasn’t helped much (nothing like stating the obvious), and fine motor skills? Unless we’re talking about online ordering … so not my thing.
I’m quietly reminiscing about all of this in an undoubtedly deranged fashion, gazing out the window on my (I’ve lost count) glass of wine while my sister-in-law drones on about health and wellness, and then — wait, she has my attention … something about a vitamin subscription box and, ladies and gentlemen, I’m hooked. I get to take a quiz. Someone asks me questions about me. Someone, (yes fine, it’s a bot), shows genuine interest in my lifestyle and personal choices and how many drinks a week do I consume on average. Is there an 8+ option? Nevermind. Done. I’m well on my way to becoming a grounded, healthier, more nutritionally-balanced human who makes conscious choices and lives life intentionally. You know, like Eleanor in “The Good Place” (Season 1) or the person who sent me that pineapple.
Here’s what I really want (hint: it’s not more credit card debt): something like a daily quiz (like the vitamin one), that accesses all of my problems and current predicaments (definitely 8+) and then, in turn, sends me a box full of solutions or a bag full of cash and maybe a map and set of keys, one that leads to the getaway car where, it goes without saying, Milo is waiting for me, possibly holding a mixed drink or at least some really great balance transfer offers.
“Let’s hit the road,” he says. “I have a pineapple with your name on it.”
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.