Roz Chast is a worrier.
Her witty cartoons, printed in the New Yorker and often on display in museums, are typically sketchy depictions of things that keep her awake at night: rats, water bugs, doctors, Ebola and more.
Which is why she’s the perfect person to consider the question: “Is Now When I Should Panic?” The Museum of the City of New York is hosting a light-hearted virtual talk with Chast on Friday, May 8 at 4 p.m. (It’s free, but registration is recommended.)
So how is a woman who’s unmoored by balloons holding up in a pandemic?
“I’d say that, on the micro level, everything’s fine,” Chast, 65, tells The Post. “It’s not super different from my normal life, because I work in isolation anyway. But on the macro level, I’m kind of panic-stricken.”
Nevertheless, she feels lucky to be holing up in Ridgefield, Conn., her home for the last 20 years, with her husband, Bill, and her parrots, Eli and Jacky. Here’s a look at how the Brooklyn native is spending her days in quarantine.
What are your favorite spots?
Various places. My studio upstairs, where I always work. Sometimes the living room is very popular — it’s got very good Wi-Fi, and it’s near the kitchen.
Where do you go when you venture out?
I walk down to the main street. Even though everything is closed, there’s still sidewalks. I am a Brooklyn girl at heart, so a nature walk doesn’t really do anything for me. I like walking on a sidewalk rather than the woods with the ticks and maybe a bear.
What have you been wearing in quarantine?
It’s what I wear all the time: basically, a mock turtleneck because it’s been cool, and comfortable pants — unlike the reporter I saw on the news. He was doing a Zoom thing and he had his jacket, tie and shirt on, but no pants. He didn’t know that when the camera pulled back, it would show him in his boxers.
Any strange panic buys?
I bought a new vacuum cleaner. I didn’t go wild, because I didn’t need some industrial-strength, computer-programmed thing. I bought a Shark, and I think it was about 189 bucks. I guess because I’m home a lot, I thought that would be a satisfying thing to do . . . It’s funny. I look at the Sephora site and nothing makes any sense. I don’t feel like buying makeup. I don’t feel like buying clothes. I barely leave the house! I put on lipstick just in case a child sees me and runs away in fright. A dress? Where am I going?
Go-to food delivery?
We have a couple of restaurants in our town that we really love and want to support. There’s a Tex-Mex place, Southwest, that we’ve ordered from twice. They make a really good salmon dish. There’s also an Italian place, Bartolo. The last time I got a flatbread pizza with clams, and it was great . . . The first week this started, I wanted a bologna and cheese sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise. That’s what I had for lunch every day in junior high, and that was what I had a craving for. The last time I went to the supermarket, I bought a thing of bologna.
Best nonfood delivery to date?
At this point, I’m just so looking forward to the vacuum. I go to the door like a dog waiting for his master to come home. “Is that it? Is that my vacuum?” Amazon says it won’t be delivered till mid-May, but I keep hoping they’re wrong.
Greatest accomplishment so far?
Our drains were slow and I looked up a way to clear [them] without using Drano. It was so satisfying! You get a pot of boiling water, put it down the drain, then shove down about half a cup of baking soda. Then you make a mix of water and vinegar, put it down the drain and seal it up. Let it sit 10 or 15 minutes, then pour another cup of boiling water down . . . I felt I did something that day. Maybe I didn’t write a sonnet, but I cleaned the bathtub drain.
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