The other day, my wife said, “We need a duvet cover.”

After all these years, I didn’t know we even had a duvet, and now I find out we need to cover it up. Well, we can’t have a naked duvet in the house. What would the neighbors say?

I had to fess up that I had seen that word, but always thought it was pronounced duvette.

My wife said, “It’s duvay.”

“Oh,” I said. Like the new vahse in the foryay?”

advertisement | advertise on newsday

“Please, get serious,” she said.

“The last time I got serious you got pregnant.”

She gave me that wife look, the kind that tells husbands it’s time to cool it. I meekly inquired where we might find one of these duvets. The shopping center, I was told. How quaint. Who goes to shopping centers?

So, outdated that we are, we headed to a department store at a mall in Massapequa. Many people call them brick-and-mortar places, but there’s a lot more to them, like glass, steel, even some wood and plastic thrown in (oh, never mind).

Just for the record, a department store is a place with lots of things to buy, but these days fewer people work there.

We wandered around for about 15 minutes and finally ran into an employee, but she didn’t speak English. She was quite adroit, however, at shrugging and rolling her eyes when we asked where we could find a duvet cover.

We bravely continued our trek in this foreign wilderness (we should have hired a sherpa guide) and 10 minutes later bumped into a woman who worked there, but her only English was, “That, I wouldn’t know.”

A short time later, luck was with us, and we discovered another employee, but she couldn’t help. She trundled off. Over her shoulder, she muttered something that sounded like “Thataway.” Or maybe it was “Lotsa luck.” I think it was more like, “What do I know? I just work here.”

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Now and then, we encountered other frustrated glassy-eyed pilgrims like us, with money to spend, or at least a credit card to max out. We shared one goal: a desperate search for directions to specific items.

More than an hour later, we had almost lost the will to live.

There was one last hope: the information desk, which we stumbled upon in a dusty corner. The line was so long, I imagined that a few people had sent out for pizza.

Finally, we gave up and went home. My wife got on the internet and five minutes later, found a fancy schmancy duvet cover and placed an order. It showed up at our front door two days later. Mission accomplished.

Reader John Bohannon lives in Wantagh.