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Napkin Hoarding Syndrome

Everyone knows about the cat-lady stereotype. The one where a woman just hoards cats because…well…cats are cool.

Well, I’m about to tell you about the Napkin lady…or Napkin Hoarding Syndrome (NHS).

See, napkin hoarding syndrome is a disease (this is probably not a disease) and it has no cure (probably has no cure because it is not a disease). But it affects thousands of women every year (false statistic, it’s just me).

I suffer from NHS.

I don’t remember when NHS started, but I can tell you factors that lead me to developing NHS.

As a child, I had horrible allergies. Like, horrible, dreadful, super inconvenient allergies. Since I had such severe allergies, to basically everything, my nose was very sensitive. The slightest exposure to one of my allergens caused an almost instantaneous runny nose. I don’t know how many kids you enjoy interacting with whose nose holes are constantly dripping liquids, but I can tell you that I personally avoid these kinds of children.

So, in an attempt to maintain human social interactions with people, I constantly carried tissues in my pocket. This way, I could flip out my fibrous saviors and stuff them up my nose to plug up my nasal faucets.

As I became a young adult, I no longer had access to free tissues from my parents…I had to buy them. Now, I can tell you’re thinking to yourself, “tissues are cheap, so what’s the big deal?” – I’ll tell you what the big deal is. You can get free napkins from any food-producing business!

And free is always better than not free.

Thus, my love affair with napkins and hoarding them began.

Anytime I would visit a restaurant, I would take a handful of napkins and stuff them into my purse. If I ordered fast food, I would keep the extra napkins that came in the bag.

There are several different types of napkins, all with varying quality.

Let me break it down for you.

1) Cardboard – napkins that feel like cardboard are of the worst quality. They feel like sandpaper on your nose, you’re lucky if you don’t scrape off the entire superficial layer of your skin. Granted, napkins were never meant to be used for nose-blowing…but I mean, when in Rome McDonalds, do as Ronald would do.

2) Recycled – fibrous, but manageable. Also environmentally friendly, so, how can you hate it? These can be found everywhere, and they are generally the most abundant in my purse collection. They’re also surprisingly absorbent.

3) Thickened – thick napkins usually have fancy embossed decorations. As the title suggests, they are thicker and usually sturdier as well. I call these “old reliable,” because no matter what the issue, these work just as good as tissues (see what I did there?).

4) Royal – I’ve only seen these in high-scale restaurants, you know, the ones where the bathrooms have marble floors and there’s like a person sitting there for any bathroom assistance – usually waiting to help you out for a tip (thanks, but no thanks, I’ve got this lady). This is like the holy grail of napkin quality, it doesn’t get any better than this. They’re basically linen, like, I’m pretty sure some of those napkins come with a 600 cotton thread count. I’d sleep like a baby on a bed covered in Royal napkins.

Now, I go through phases of purse full-ness, meaning there will be times when there are only three napkins in my purse and then there will be times when there are thirty napkins in my purse. I usually hoard them until I use the majority of my stash, unless something happens – like I stored food in my purse and now all my napkins have crumbs in them. Then I discard them…but I’m quick to restock.

There is a silver-lining to my NHS, and that is when my napkins make me a hero.

Hero? Yes, hero.

I am a swift spill-solver. Spiderman has his spidey-sense, and I have my Spill-sense. When my spill-sense tingles, I know that there is a spill near by. I quickly take out my utility belt napkins and attack the culprit before it spreads over materials that could be damaged. Like a fucking ninja.

Reenactment:

More realistic reenactment:

Actually, I’m sure on-lookers must think I’m some kind of napkin-dealer…

Spills and nose-blowing are the only reasons why I keep a stack of napkins in my car. I cannot tell you the number of times I spill something in my car. It’s like the universe gets offended by my ability to drink things, so it curses me when my car goes over speed bumps or badly-paved roads.

The other time that I look like a hero with my napkins is when someone needs paper and there’s none around.

I just pop open my purse and hand a napkin over.

NAPKIN RESCUE, SCENARIO 1:

NAPKIN RESCUE SCENARIO 2:

And when I am done helping those in need…

Sometimes I’m my own hero… like, for example, when I enter a bathroom and I see that there is no toilet paper.

Having no toilet paper in a bathroom is quite possibly the most annoying thing ever… it leaves you totally helpless.

But I digress.

My NHS does get pretty out of control when I’m too busy to clean out my purse… they have a tenancy to spill out onto the floor. It kind of makes me look like I’m trying to keep track of where I’m going by leaving myself napkin clues. It also makes me unintentionally litter.

At home, I may put some napkins in my kitchen, but they always somehow make their way into my room…so then I’ve got napkins all over my already messy bedroom.

The point when I have to start throwing things away is when I wake up to the sight of a napkin on my pillow…

I know I have made progress with my disease…but it’s still got a strong grip on me. any time I get rid of napkins…a strong, burning urge to attain more floods through my body.

One day, when there is no more pollen, freshly cut grass, dogs, cats, dust, or allergens in general, I will finally be free of NHS. Until then…my purse will forever be twice as large thanks to my fluffy paper friends.

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