Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Social Distancing In My Dining Room

While the coronavirus-related chaos in my kitchen is a group effort from the whole family, the current state of my dining room - messy!- is all my fault.

Normally, I keep the dining room table under control. Granted, many a project unfolds across the wide open space from day to day, but I pick up after myself. We eat at least a couple meals in here every week, just to hold me accountable.

But thanks to Covid-19, all bets are off. Since my work-from-home husband has taken over our official office space with his mega monitors and spreadsheet campaigns, I've moved myself into the dining room full time.

One end of the table is devoted to socially-distant math. Since I'm now teaching my students via Youtube, I record videos here by placing one of the chairs up on top of the table. I balance my phone upside down on top of the chair seat and work problems in my notebook positioned underneath, thereby simulating a legitimate top-down recording studio that gets the job done surprisingly well. While I usually try to go the extra mile of taking the chair down off the table between daily recording sessions, my textbooks, folders, and notebooks have taken up permanent residence in the open air. 

The non-social-distancing me could not tolerate the visual clutter of this arrangement, but hey, epidemics make me flexible. I've learned to cope.

The other end of the table has become a designated work zone for the heap of journals I'm working on finishing. Imagine, if you dare, a dozen spiral bound notebooks and homemade books of all shapes, sizes and colors. Now visualize on top and in between them: 

packages of colored card stock,
glue sticks, tacky glue, tape, 
ruler, scissors,
postcards, stickers, maps, and tickets,
a tray overflowing with my daughters' creative handiwork,
random photos, and 
half a dozen old magazines.

This creates a wild, messy and perfectly socially distant place to work, but it is not a pretty sight.

I get a headache just looking at it. 

But I've decided that I'm not going to waste my coronavirus-era energy picking it up and putting it back out every day. That's like trying to shovel snow while the blizzard rages on.

So here's my coronavirus compromise:

I'm not going to worry about the outrageous mess on the table.

In fact, I'm just ignoring it altogether.

As long as the walls, floor and corners look agreeable, that's good enough for me.

Someday, I have great faith, Covid-19 will be tamed, the memories of social distancing will quickly fade into the hazy past, and our lives will indeed return to normal.

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