Keeping House in Quarantine

Keeping house during the COVID quarantine is, as my husband would say, “like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Feel that way, too? He has said it many times over the years, and somehow, every time, I laugh.

Like all great expressions (immediately, Churchill’s come to mind), it says so much with so few. I’m categorically terrible at this. But the great writers and orators are not (Seinfeld. Hedberg. Lincoln. Angelou. – yes, I just related all of those unrelated people). And who ever came up with the deck chair quote is included in this esteemed company.

It’s pointless. Stop. You’re spinning your wheels, pissing in the wind (crass but accurate), throwing good money after bad, experiencing a great exercise in futility. To imagine the efforts: the sliding over, the lining up, the pushing back and the pulling forward of all those beautiful deck chairs (were they in red ticking fabric? friendly yellow plaid? or maybe a nautical blue print). Were they designed to sit out a certain way, in a particular pattern, facing a specific direction? What kind of job was that – and what a gigantic responsibility – to arrange and account for and keep tidy all the Titanic’s deck chairs. And what frivolity and futility to rearrange those cumbersome chairs on a doomed, sinking ship that totally submerged in just over 2 hours. (As a side note, I highly recommend clicking that 2 hour link. . . the real time video of the Titanic sinking is amazing. Eery and utterly fascinating.)

Needless to say, during that time, the very last practical or reasonable behavior would have been. . .yep. Right. Rearranging the deck chairs.

And here we all are, trying to keep our own little worlds sane and routine and normal: wiping off counters, folding underwear, sweeping. the. kitchen. floor. again., unloading the dishwasher, picking up the hundred sticky frogs your fun brother just sent your kids or the Pez candies your sweet friend mailed them. Awesome.

And every time I do it. 🙂 Every time during this quarantine when the “stay at home” starts to feel like the “destroy the home,” and I blow off the porch just before the earthquake (seriously, the Idaho earthquake happened 20 minutes post my outdoor cleaning spree), or swipe another counter, or miraculously find another sock’s match, I think to myself:

“Oh, Katie. Seriously? You’re just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

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