As a Passenger on the Titanic, I’m So Glad We All Decided to Go On With Our Lives as the Ship Sinks
“In Britain, France, Spain and other countries across Europe, politicians and some public health experts are pushing a new approach to the coronavirus pandemic borne of both boldness and resignation: that the illness is becoming a fixture of daily life.” — NYT
I’ll be honest, when the Titanic started sinking and it looked like we were going to drown, I thought “let’s definitely figure out a way to get everyone onto lifeboats.” And when people said that focusing on a rescue mission would ruin the robust maritime economy and that we should just go on with our lives as our ship sank further into the Atlantic Ocean, I thought “that’s fucking bonkers,” but now I realized I was wrong.
At first all I could think about was that I was going to die, but after a while, I got used to seeing people fall off the boat and drown in the icy waters, and it was like, well, should I really keep focusing all my energy on that or should I just go back to enjoying the buffet dinner that I already paid for?
It’s hard to admit it now, but I was a tad hysterical at first wondering if I could get a spot in one of those lifeboats. I even tried to jump the queue. But then I heard that it was better to let your lungs get used to drowning the natural way, by desperately gulping for air underwater, and I thought, that makes sense!
Besides, those lifeboats don’t seem to work that great – like, people still get wet in them and that sounds super uncomfortable. And sure those same people are drying off right away, but if I had to pick between drowning and getting a little wet, well honestly it seems like six of one, half dozen of the other.
Now sure, every minute it seems like the incident levels of drowning increases, but the guy blaring out statistics on the ship’s CB radio says that some of those people had comorbidities and that they were probably going to die before we got to America anyway. I was a little uncomfortable with that argument right after we hit the iceberg, but now it’s like, that’s probably right.
I’m no socialist – my original misguided attempt to save the people on this ship before they drowned in the middle of the Atlantic was purely selfish. I mean, I wanted to know who was going to make my food and cinch my corset and call out when another iceberg was on the horizon, but then I saw how well the stock market was doing and I thought, “Fuck it, letting this ship go down and possibly dying is the best thing that’s ever happened to my 401(k) and I’ll be able to retire five years early.”
I’ve also noticed how our ship sinking has really fired up the creative juices of some of the Titanic’s crew. Just look at how the deck chair rearranging business has taken off. I mean, sure, lots of workers have quit because they say “it’s not safe to rearrange chairs as we are literally pulled underwater by this massive boat” and others have fallen ill or died, but besides that, it’s going great.
I’m also pleased how well my kids are faring in this new environment. I thought being underwater and not able to breathe might affect their ability to learn, but kids are so resilient. I know some teachers have said it’s not safe for them to teach in these shark-infested waters as the sinking Titanic pulls them further towards the sea floor, but I think they’re exaggerating. I mean, are even teachers’ unions even legal on the Titanic?
Anyway, I’m glad we didn’t listen to the captain who was begging everyone to find a spot in a safety boat and decided to drown instead.
Kate Chrisman is an American writer in Berlin, Germany. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Belladonna, and Points in Case. She’s been called a “millennial snowflake.” You can find her online at www.katerchrisman.com