• Sylvia Gallusser

The Tetris Home Lifestyle

My life has become a Tetris game. Not the Gameboy one I played in the 1990s. More like the 3-D version with its colored blocks falling at warp speed. But if you lose at Tetris, you lose your place on the podium. If you miss too many tiles in your home life, you can really lose your mind!


My home has become like a slider puzzle. You need to fit work tasks, housekeeping chores, school assignments, parenting duties, and new hygiene constraints, into limited space, for all household members. All this evolves over time and priorities are constantly reshuffled. Our home used to be our haven of peace from the exterior world. But we let the fox into the henhouse.


All day long rooms, furniture, and apparel are repurposed. Our entrance presents a cupboard of clean masks. Our sink is dedicated to the soaking ones. Shoes decorate the doorsteps, aligned next to the outdoor decor. Hand sanitizer is placed in every corner of the house.


Only one of us will win the prime spot – the soundproofed room. One child will do her homework from her bed. Another will aim for the outdoor table. Another will follow carrying a chair. Our furniture has become movable. But one size fits all in a limited cubic space.


I work, teach, plan, and fail, on the kitchen table next to the hot tea station that keeps me going everyday. Regularly I am interrupted by my kids doing their physical education over my head. Another gap in the whole structure and I am not going to make it.


Sometimes I just need a hideaway. A fraction of a couch. A fragment of silence. A pause in my brain. Game over.


During the first part of the pandemic, we have been mainly trying to survive. One more school project, one more Zoom meeting, one more outing to the grocery store in our anti-COVID-19 gear. Block after block, we have been trying to pile them up, hoping there won't be too many to reach the top, to crumble our sanity.


An everyday life deconstructed. Blocks crushing us.

More bad news, number of cases rising, hospital overloading, death count climbing. Protecting the kids, keeping them safe, turning the masquerade into a masked ball. Cosmic kids yoga, Mo Willems, basketball tutorials, posters and teddy bears on the windows. Smiles on their faces--this is priceless. Another line of blocks eliminated! Another task list checked.


And yet I am so thankful to have so much space. My playboard is large. I wonder how this Tetris game can be played in a small city apartment, in a mobile home, in a narrow room in a community building, on a college campus, or in a nursing home.


We are reaching the tipping point. We need to change the tiles, make them smaller, move them in the right direction, learn how to rotate them faster. We need the board to be more spacious so we have more space to move things around and to rearrange them according to our newfound needs--multifunctionality, soundproofed rooms, moveable furniture, downtime environment, hiding area, access to outdoors, zen place.


An everyday life to reconstruct. Bricks to realign.



Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

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