Households in Quarantine

by Megan Hildebrandt July 4, 2020

Households in Quarantine is an effort to collect, document, and share moments from our lives at home in quarantine. Anyone can submit a description of daily life in their household during COVID-19, and I will depict it in a drawing to add to the collection. The more the collection grows, the more accurate, diverse, and universal it will become.

It is my hope that individuals can recognize themselves in the drawing of others, and experience small moments of unity, humor, and solace in knowing that although physically separate, we are still a collective.

To see Part II, please go here.

Drawing by Megan Hildebrandt

Pedro and his family in Mexico City are hoarding as many cans of Lysol as Pedro’s mom can get her hands on. She has given each member of the household their own personal Lysol spray with instructions to use it for everything they touch or do. They are even using it on the soles of their feet.

Pedro, his brother, and his father are trying to keep calm and in good spirits by singing “Cubia del Coronavirus” each evening together.

His mother is not amused. Neither are Mariana or Ana, who have lived and worked for Pedro’s parents since he was a baby. Ana is worried about her mom. She doesn’t want to go see her because she’s afraid she might expose her to the virus.

Drawing my Megan Hildebrandt.

Jenny woke up in her not-yet-unpacked new home in Washington state to the news of a state-wide quarantine. She tried to open her right eye to get a better look at the TV, but it felt superglued shut. Damn it, she thought. I caught pink eye from the girls! When her daughters heard their mom stirring in bed, they jumped onto her like excited baby sumo wrestlers.

For the next several minutes of being a human trampoline, Jenny mentally evaluated her situation:

  • She just moved her entire family to another state
  • That other state just happens to be the site of one of the biggest current outbreaks of coronavirus.

She jumped to the only logical conclusion: Pink eye is a newly-discovered early symptom of COVID-19.

Drawing my Megan Hildebrandt.

I didn’t know that Beverly liked popcorn with nutritional yeast sprinkled on top, and I was relieved to hear that she had just bought herself a new television to ride out the COVID-19 quarantine.

But she doesn’t seem to be watching much TV at all.

She spends most of her time observing a family of squirrels who live in a tree outside of her window. The squirrels enjoy terrorizing the dogs in her neighborhood. I imagine that the copious amount of popcorn Beverly has been popping has endeared her to the squirrels.

In fact, I bet it is only a matter of time before she cracks that window open just a little too far and gains a furry, disease-ridden little buddy to share that big bowl with.

Drawing my Megan Hildebrandt.

Sean is one of the most calm individuals I know. I think he must do yoga or something. While he’s holed up and under quarantine in Austin, he is spending most of his days cooking. Sean must have a large family, or a takeout business, you might be thinking. And you would be wrong.

Sean is cooking large amounts of rice.
of steamed white rice.

We are all wondering what he will use it for. Rice balls? Beans and rice? Sushi? Tapioca pudding? Throwing it out his window at all the sobbing brides and grooms whose weddings are cancelled?? Talk about salt (rice?) in the wound, Sean.

Drawing my Megan Hildebrandt.

Annika is so damn pissed off watching all this media coverage of those irresponsible people on spring break in Miami. What the hell are they thinking? wonders Annika. It is like a scene from a movie where storm clouds roll in slowly, then faster, and lighting strikes as the thunder builds, and you just want to scream at the protagonist to get out of the water — NOW!

But this is real life. So Annika wrote an op-ed and got CNN to do her screaming for her.

Drawing my Megan Hildebrandt.

To celebrate the apocalypse, Kelly got a new hamster. She is waiting for classes to resume (online — which should be interesting, and potentially mind-numbing). But despite all the projects she could be working on, shows she could be watching, workout routines she could be performing… all she finds herself able to do is sit in a trance watching that damn hamster ball go back and forth, back and forth across her parents’ kitchen floor.

Drawing my Megan Hildebrandt.

Lauren and her husband Ira are working two hours on/two hours off with the kids. But Winnie, her 4-year-old, keeps finding her — no matter if it is Ira’s turn, no matter if the “Working: Do Not Disturb” sign that Lauren thought would do the trick is hung on the (locked) bedroom door.

How did Winnie figure out how to unlock the master bedroom door?

Lauren has finally found the one place her kids cannot find her — the fort of blankets Winnie built this morning.

Drawing my Megan Hildebrandt.

Emilie won’t get out of bed. She won’t get out of bed until she has figured out how to block everyone who has ever pissed her off on Facebook. If not now, when? This is the ideal time to purge her virtual social scene of all the haters. But she can’t quite figure out how to block them without them knowing. No need to make enemies out loud.

Her kids, Geo and Aurora, are knocking on the door. So is her husband. And now the chickens need their food. But she still has 83 “friends” to go before her Facebook feed is perfect!

hang on




Megan Hildebrandt is a Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project. She is the Director of the First-Year Core Program and an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Art and Art History at UT Austin.


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